Paging Radley Balko- More New Professionalism

ATTN: Agitator

Of all the tasing stories, this one takes the cake:

Donnell Williams had just gotten out of the bath tub, wearing only a towel around his waist, when he turned the corner to see guns pointing right at him.

“I ain’t never been so scared,” says Williams.

Police forced entry into Williams home while responding to a shooting, but it turned out to be a false call. They had no idea at the time the call wasn’t real and that Williams is hearing impaired. Without his hearing aid he is basically deaf.

“I kept going to my ear yelling that I was scared. I can’t hear! I can’t hear!”

Officers were worried about their own safety because at the time it appeared Williams was refusing to obey their commands to show his hands. That’s when they shot him with a Taser.

Deputy Chief Robert Lee of the Wichita Police Department says, “This one occurred on the worst of calls, that being a shooting. The first few minutes getting control of the scene are very, very important.”

Once the facts were all sorted out, officers repeatedly apologized to Williams. Police wish it never happened, but with the information they had at the time, their choices were limited.

We will pause briefly so you can all make jokes about the ‘loaded weapon’ beneath the towel.

Now, in all seriousness, something has gone very wrong when your “limited choices” as a police officer are:

A.) Shoot the startled naked deaf homeowner shouting “I can’t hear!”

B.) Taser the startled naked deaf homeowner shouting “I can’t hear!”

Granted, I am not a police officer, and I have a growing contempt for police based on what I read in the news and my own personal experiences, so I concede that I am not an expert. But even with my lack of expertise, I recognize that in that situation, THERE HAS TO BE A THIRD FUCKING OPTION.

Jeebus.






229 replies
  1. 1
    Dreggas says:

    Can You Hear me Now?

  2. 2
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    Obviously the startled naked deaf homeownder wasn’t respecting their Author-a-TAH.

  3. 3

    He’s wearing a towel. If a cop, with backup, feels threatened by a guy in a towel while he has his weapon drawn, something is wrong with that cop’s training.

    On a side note, how many police departments require their members to be tested for steroid usage? Because it seems like there’s a lot of ‘roid rage kind of incidents from cops lately.

  4. 4
    chopper says:

    turns out he was signing “don’t tase me, bro” and they tased him anyways.

    yay, cops.

  5. 5
    LiberalTarian says:

    Sounds like deaf guy has an enemy.

    Recall the Texas incident where the gay guys had the police bust in on them while they were having sex due to a malicious tip (that’s the one that went all the way to the Supreme Court that banned the practice of saying it was okay for hetersexuals to have anal intercourse but not homosexuals).

    Sigh. What a nice little authoritarian world we live in. :o(

  6. 6
    chopper says:

    the cop who tased him was quoted as saying “shit, i feel so bad. i didn’t even know he was a regular guy. i heard mike yell out “jimmy, the guy’s wearing a towel” and i thought, well, you know…”

  7. 7
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    i heard mike yell out “jimmy, the guy’s wearing a towel” and i thought, well, you know…”

    A well-snapped towel is a deadly weapon.

  8. 8

    Mother of God. It’s a miracle he didn’t get hurt, being wet from the shower. The truly frightening thing is Taser is marketing a line of purse sized Lady Tasers. Slightly less efficient units in designer colors. Only 350 bucks. Your next date could be carrying one…

    How long you figure it will take for them to be misused in the private market?

  9. 9
    Dug Jay says:

    Re Libby’s comment, these might make pretty good stocking stuffers.

  10. 10
    Badtux says:

    Repeat after me… “this is your rifle, and this is your gun. One is for shooting, and one is for fun.”

    Friggin’ morons. On the other hand, given that Donnell Williams is apparently hung to the point where the cops thought his, err, gun, was a pistol, maybe we’ve found the next Dirk Diggler? Curious penguins don’t want to know!

    – Badtux the Gun Penguin

  11. 11

    […] Thanks again to Balloon Juice and also Radley Balko for two more examples (here and here) of brutal imbecility committed by our boys in blue. The first case involves cops tasering a naked guy wrapped in a bath towel in his own home, a guy who was telling the cops that because he had just gotten out of the bath and he couldn’t hear as he needed his hearing aid.  (The cops broke into his house because of a false call.) […]

  12. 12

    Cops are a protected class, no? It’s a capital crime to kill a police officer during the commission of a felony in most jurisdictions, in my mind, it follows that they should be subject to Draconian Punishments. If they kill you or me, not necessarily so.

    Drug and Steroid testing is a good start. Many school districts subject school kids to drug tests if they want to participate in extracurricular activities, why not cops? One strike and you’re out. No mercy. A cop on any drug could cost a citizen his or her life. Frequent psychological testing should be mandatory.

    I also find it fascinating that we seem to going to a spate of cops killing spouses. Or is it my imagination?

    Punishment for wrongful taser usage? Forty tasings and deportation to the Sudan.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    Perhaps a good start would be to have each trainee cop tased as a part of their training. I am beginning to become concerned that, because Tasers are not (usually) lethal, some cops may inclined to tase first and ask questions afterwards.

  15. 15
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    Perhaps a good start would be to have each trainee cop tased as a part of their training.

    I think that’s an excellent idea.

  16. 16
    chopper says:

    i think that not only should cops be tased in training to use a taser, but they should be recertified every year or so, maybe more often if they actually use it.

  17. 17
    John Cole says:

    Every officer involved in a tasing publicly tased repeatedly every time they use it on someone else.

    After all, it is safe, amirite?

  18. 18
    DecidedFenceSitter says:

    Have a friend who is a sheriff in a local county.

    They are tased, and pepper-sprayed as part of training. At least he was.

  19. 19
    jcricket says:

    They are tased, and pepper-sprayed as part of training. At least he was.

    They do this in Seattle too. A few people drop out after realizing they might have to fight, shoot or tase people (it’s freakier than you think). Of course the opposite is also true (some people get psyched up by that stuff).

    But even with my lack of expertise, I recognize that in that situation, THERE HAS TO BE A THIRD FUCKING OPTION.

    Not when you defund the police by imposing cap after cap on tax revenue, so that they’re training, hiring and retention budgets are slimmer every year. In NYC the starting salary for cops was something like $22k. In NY that won’t pay for the commute between your home in outer Mongolia and NYC, where you’d surely be living on $22k.

    I’ll say it again, because it bears repeating, but you can draw a straight fucking line from “the most dangerous words in the English language” and the problems government jobs (including police + fire) face today.

  20. 20
    The Other Andrew says:

    Am I wrong in guessing that “I kept going to my ear” means that he was pointing at it? Meaning that he was indeed showing at least one hand? (And, if he’s like me, holding the towel with the other.)

  21. 21
    Perry Como says:

    A few people drop out after realizing they might have to fight, shoot or tase people (it’s freakier than you think). Of course the opposite is also true (some people get psyched up by that stuff).

    I have a feeling they are keeping the wrong ones.

    As to tasing a deaf guy, how do we know he wasn’t greased up?

  22. 22
    Perry Como says:

    Am I wrong in guessing that “I kept going to my ear” means that he was pointing at it? Meaning that he was indeed showing at least one hand? (And, if he’s like me, holding the towel with the other.)

    I can hold a towel up without either hand. A hat, too.

  23. 23
    John says:

    Taser training for police goes like this:

    The sergeant stands near the trainee and says, “Now, I’ll hit you with the Taser, so you’ll know what it feels like.”

    That’s bull. That’s not what getting hit with a Taser feels like.

    Training should go like this:

    A rumor should be deliberately circulated that several trainees from the last class had to be let go with some kind of disability compensation, for some unspecified reason. Make sure that the rumors are flying well in advance of the training.

    On the day of the Taser training, two new instructors should be introduced: one big and burly, and the other, not. Their uniforms should be subtly different from all of the other instructors’.

    Just before the training is scheduled to start, the big and burly guy should get in a very public shouting match with one of the regular instructors. Hopefully, it should be far enough away so that the trainees are not able to hear what they are shouting about, but they should be able to see him get very agitated. He should break something, throw something, and gesture violently towards the trainees. The other mystery man should pull him aside, whisper in his ear, and pull him away. Glaring at the trainees from a distance is encouraged.

    The actual Tasering should happen in a padded, soundproofed room with two doors, so that trainees can see the others enter, but never see them leave. When they enter, they’ll see the big guy standing in the center of the room, still looking angry, but quiet. The little one proceeds to place the trainee in restraints, “So you don’t hurt yourself.”

    Sit the trainee down in a chair facing away from the big guy. Wait two minutes, and the big guy walks around in front, points the taser at him, waits another twenty seconds, and tases him.

    The trainee should then get picked up off the floor, released, and sent through the second door.

    *That’s* what getting tased feels like.

    A complete loss of control. Dread, uncertainty, and pain.

    Can’t get that from, “Hold still while I tase you.”

  24. 24
    Dreggas says:

    What’s sign language for “Don’t tase me bro”?

  25. 25
    Tsulagi says:

    Jeebus.

    Indeed. With your other tasing posts, if you went way out in giving the benefit of the doubt to the cops you could see some reasoning, but WTF on this one. Of course, in the Age of Bush, there was this line from the Deputy Chief in the linked story…

    “Do I wish there would have been some way they were notified in advance this gentleman was hearing impaired? I certainly do.”

    Shorter Retard: Not Our Fault!

    I dunno, Chief, maybe a bare-ass naked guy in a towel pointing to his ear repeatedly yelling “I can’t hear!” would be a clue he was hearing impaired. Don’t know what kind of aptitude tests and standards you have for your recruits, but you might want to look into the non-verbal and verbal communication areas.

  26. 26
    Jen says:

    Gettin’ my geek on again…

    Recall the Texas incident where the gay guys had the police bust in on them while they were having sex due to a malicious tip (that’s the one that went all the way to the Supreme Court that banned the practice of saying it was okay for hetersexuals to have anal intercourse but not homosexuals).

    Lawrence v. Texas? That’s not what that case said. Some people even think those guys were reverse-set-up so that someone would actually get busted for gay sex and they could “mount” a Constitutional challenge. Shorter U.S. Supreme Court: it ain’t your bedroom, cop.

    Tasing people for gay sex I think is still o.k. They could have a weapon…somewhere….

  27. 27
    Jen says:

    Apologies to LiberalTarian, I misread your posting there where ya put the word “banned” in there.

    So that is what it said, sorry!

    BTW, I been likin’ this site so much I’ve not been getting my work done, which means I have to bring it home, where I also have a computer, where I don’t get my work done. Curse you all and your wit and wisdom.

  28. 28
    Mhojo says:

    I wasn’t there, and obviously it sounds stupid, but really, how would they know the guy was legit? Violent felons have been known to lie from time to time.

    So, you arrive on the scene where, to the best of your knowledge, there has been a shooting. You’re scared. Now, you’ve got a guy with a towel who isn’t complying with orders.

    He’s given you an explanation that may or may not be true. Because you’re responding to a shooting, you need to secure the guy to secure the location. How do you accomplish this task quickly when you can’t communicate and can’t get the guy to voluntarily get into a position that, without question, does not pose a threat?

    As far as I can tell, your options are grappling with the guy, taser, or pepper spray. Standing around and shouting at each other to no effect doesn’t make much sense. Turning your back on him doesn’t make much sense. Staring at each other is probably a bad idea if a) the guy could be the shooter; or b) the shooter might still be in the area.

    I don’t have any police training, so maybe there is a better option. What is it?

  29. 29
    Tsulagi says:

    I have a growing contempt for police based on what I read in the news and my own personal experiences

    I will say, based just on my anecdotal experiences, other than one dickhead my encounters with police have been pretty decent. Generally professional and courteous. Even a couple who could have written me a ticket letting me off with a warning.

  30. 30
  31. 31
    Splitting Image says:

    This is a terrible thing to have happened.

    It’s time that all the LIEberals in this country realized that it’s their own hypocritical support of unnecessary social programs like welfare, medicare, old age security and public education that is responsible for all this.

    If they only would stop preventing the Republicans from shish-kebabing all of that waste, the money saved would allow state and local governments to pay for their police officers to be properly trained and prevent all of the hand-wringing over things like this.

    And tax cuts pay for themselves.

  32. 32

    That’s bull. That’s not what getting hit with a Taser feels like.

    At the very least, there should be an element of surprise to it, since the taser shot generally comes out of nowhere for the person being hit with it.

  33. 33
    Dug Jay says:

    How about a poll? Which is worse? Waterboarding or a hit from a taser?

    My guess is that waterboarding would be less fun.

  34. 34

    What’s sign language for “Don’t tase me bro”?

    I was hoping to find taser at aslpro.com, but no. Maybe they should consider adding it.

  35. 35

    […] John Cole’s got a doozy: toweled deaf man taking a bath is Tasered for not obeying officers’ commands, after they mistakenly entered his home. […]

  36. 36
    Tsulagi says:

    As far as I can tell, your options are grappling with the guy, taser, or pepper spray.

    If they believed there was a shooting in the home, then they entered with weapons drawn. When they encountered a naked guy pointing at his ear and yelling “I can’t hear,” until they saw a weapon in one of his hands they could have started by giving him the benefit of the doubt that he was in fact deaf.

    While one or more (I’m guessing more than two officers responded) targeted naked guy’s chest with their weapons, one officer could have at least tried pointing to the floor pantomiming to lay down, or to stand with both hands in the air, or to simply turn around. Could have tried it, but they didn’t.

    Then if for some weird reason (the article didn’t say he was deaf AND dumb) he still remained standing with one hand hidden by his towel, if there was a brave soul among the officers, he could have moved in to handcuff him while the others continued to target naked guy. Naked guy pulls any kind of weapon, he gets blown away.

    While tasering is probably better for you than a hole, I’m guessing some still die from it. I’d think being lit up would do wonders for Cheney’s pacemaker.

  37. 37
    Chad N. Freude says:

    Wow! I just looked at Psycheout’s URL, and there is a cartoon that supports the point I just made about using loaded language to forestall discussion. In this case, it’s the word “Mormon” being used to cut off any rational conversation (about Romney’s honesty, consistency, use of religion as a political tool, …)

  38. 38
    Chad N. Freude says:

    Sorry, that last posting was intended for another thread. I am emabarrassed. Now where’s that hara-kiri sword?

  39. 39
    jake says:

    How do you accomplish this task quickly when you can’t communicate and can’t get the guy to voluntarily get into a position that, without question, does not pose a threat?

    How about pointing at him and miming the act of laying down flat?

    Otherwise you’re arguing that the cops can and should taze anyone who doesn’t understand English.

  40. 40

    Otherwise you’re arguing that the cops can and should taze anyone who doesn’t understand English.

    That’s why the Polish guy got tasered to death in Vancouver last week.

  41. 41
    Chad N. Freude says:

    How about pointing at him and miming the act of laying down flat?

    Two words. First word, one syllable… Sorry to joke about this, but I don’t think this is practicalOtherwise you’re arguing that the cops can and should taze anyone who doesn’t understand English. in situation as fraught as this.

    Otherwise you’re arguing that the cops can and should taze anyone who doesn’t understand English.

    The Lou Dobbs model of law enforcement.

  42. 42
    myiq2xu says:

    A few years ago in Madera, California, a police sergeant shot and killed a man who was hog-tied in the back of a patrol car. The sergeant stated she intended to Taser the victim but accidentally drew and fired her .40 caliber semi-automatic instead of her Taser weapon.

    The shooting was ruled justifiable/accidental but the victim’s family was offered a $1 million settlement on their civil suit.

    My question: Why the fuck was it “necessary” or “reasonable” to Taser a man who was already hog-tied in the back of a patrol car?

  43. 43

    […] First off, check out this Taser story here.   Then … […]

  44. 44
    Chad N. Freude says:

    Please ignore formatting error in previous post. Thank you.

  45. 45
    Chad N. Freude says:

    The sergeant stated she intended to Taser the victim but accidentally drew and fired her .40 caliber semi-automatic instead of her Taser weapon.

    No doubt she was trained by Blackwater.

  46. 46
    Psycheout says:

    Granted, I am not a police officer, and I have a growing contempt for police based on what I read in the news and my own personal experiences, so I concede that I am not an expert.

    Perhaps, respectfully, you should shut up then….

  47. 47
    Psycheout says:

    He’s wearing a towel. If a cop, with backup, feels threatened by a guy in a towel while he has his weapon drawn, something is wrong with that cop’s training.

    Hey, moron, have you ever been snapped with a wet towel? It really hurts.

  48. 48
    myiq2xu says:

    Hey, moron, have you ever been snapped with a wet towel? It really hurts.

    It can leave a welt too!

  49. 49
    Mike D. says:

    Perry Como, I’m not sure what good grease would do, but there are at least four anti-Taser countermeasures I know of, one of which has probably entered the urban guerrilla’s Bat-belt for good as a result of Don’t Tase Me Bro (effectiveness is so-so, mediapathicity is 9 out of ten), another of which is surprising and distracting and basically useful only for buying a single second to draw a concealed weapon and start killing Taser-armed home invaders of whatever costume (the tool with the Taser may safely be saved for last).

    Once this stuff gets out there — and good luck charging a protester with Possession of Macrame and a Sports Drink — well, it’s like the Laser-Guiding Detector that’s all the rage in the Middle East… about as complex as an IED trigger, roughly the same size and no stinky single-use chemicals required. It’s a countermeasure thing. You misuse and overuse a weapon and countermeasures just fall out of the walls, and good luck putting the toothpaste back in the tube.

    All that aside: one hand pointing at the ear, the other holding a towel. Dripping water on the floor. Screaming “I’m deaf.” This is Anytown’s Finest in action, the rubber hitting the road if Bushco declares martial law for any reason. Maybe the Sovs could have held on in ’89 if they hadn’t screwed up and let the Afghan vets come home, you think? Seriously, what kind of election is worth winning by bringing home 100,000 hardened grunts with no love for The Man and a yearning to breathe free? 2012, my butt. Most of those guys will never come home in one piece, and they know it and know why.

  50. 50

    Hey, moron, have you ever been snapped with a wet towel? It really hurts.

    Wow, I think this site just set a new record for stupidest thing ever posted. I honestly didn’t think anybody would ever beat Darrell’s record.

  51. 51
    Grace Nearing says:

    These incidents are getting more and more bizarre. Recently in England, the police tasered a man who had fallen into a diabetic coma while riding a bus in Yorkshire. The justification: the man “refused” to respond to police commands.

  52. 52
    Psycheout says:

    Wow! I just looked at Psycheout’s URL, and there is a cartoon that supports the point I just made about using loaded language to forestall discussion.

    I think we all forgive you. Especially me. And the unwritten subtitle to that is “Night of the Living Romney.” Scary stuff.

  53. 53
    Psycheout says:

    I honestly didn’t think anybody would ever beat Darrell’s record.

    Darrell was a spoof.

  54. 54
    myiq2xu says:

    Darrell was a spoof.

    But Psycheout is the real thing.

    With a weird “towel-snapping” phobia.

  55. 55
    TenguPhule says:

    Perhaps, respectfully, you should shut up then….

    Sage advice, Psyche should follow it himself for everything he knows nothing about…which seems to be everything.

  56. 56
    Chad N. Freude says:

    I think we all forgive you.

    You have no idea how much I value your forgiveness.
    Of course, you didn’t say you forgive me, you said you think you forgive me. Or rather, you think everybody forgives me. But it doesn’t matter; I need all the forgiveness I can get.

    Would you mind going back to the other thread and continuing our discussion about jihad? Thanks in advance.

  57. 57
    Chad N. Freude says:

    Oh, Psycheout. I erred. You actually said

    Especially me.

    I’m such a careless reader. I thank you for your forgiveness. I feel cleansed.

    Now, would you mind going back to the other thread and continuing our discussion about jihad?

  58. 58
    Psycheout says:

    Now, would you mind going back to the other thread and continuing our discussion about jihad?

    Not really, I tend to avoid having discussions with traitors. But thanks for asking!

  59. 59

    We need more cop stories like this one–Cops chasing a Krispy Kreme donut truck down the street. And even though I laugh at the story, I hope the cop who was injured recovers nicely.

  60. 60
    JWW says:

    John,

    You again prove yourself to be worthless, we live in a ruthless society. “officer down” is way to common. But your don’t ever report such. You report “officer kills or officers ????), look at the stats. Piss poor of you again, the day may come when you need the assistance of the officer. I hope that day never arrives at your door, but if it should, you will expect more. You and your ilk will never be satisfied as long as you, family or friend are not involved. If they are, you will ask why could they not do more? SO SORRY

  61. 61
    Chad N. Freude says:

    Psycheout Says: Not really, I tend to avoid having discussions with traitors. But thanks for asking!

    Traitor

    1 : one who betrays another’s trust or is false to an obligation or duty 2 : one who commits treason

    Treason:

    1 : the betrayal of a trust : treachery 2 : the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family

    Would you explain why you refer to me as a “traitor”?

  62. 62
    JWW says:

    Chad N Freude,

    Never have read a response from you in the past. It is however very obvious you think too much of yourself. You appear that common sense is not a part of your thought. I will bow as you pass by. You belong in the well of sand you seek. You really, really do leave an odor as you pass.

  63. 63
    sidereal says:

    As to tasing a deaf guy, how do we know he wasn’t greased up?

    Obviously, if he was a greased up deaf guy they wouldn’t have been able to catch him.

    Chad, you’re arguing with Psycheout in a manner that suggests you want him or her to eventually say “You’re right”. It will never happen. He or she will pull out one of a million rhetorical tricks to evade your point or change the subject ad infinitum, pulling an easy tarbaby while you get increasingly frustrated and righteous. Don’t bother. Argument on the Internet where at least one party has bad faith is a significantly less productive use of time than masturbation. On the other hand, argument on the Internet between people of good faith is fantastic.

  64. 64
    Chad N. Freude says:

    Chad N Freude,

    Never have read a response from you in the past. It is however very obvious you think too much of yourself. You appear that common sense is not a part of your thought. I will bow as you pass by. You belong in the well of sand you seek. You really, really do leave an odor as you pass.

    What leads you to say this?

  65. 65
    KCinDC says:

    I hope that day never arrives at your door, but if it should, you will expect more.

    Yes, I imagine John would expect more than to have the officer taser him into submission while letting the criminal get away, for example. How unreasonable!

    Don’t you think that respect for police might increase if they started actually getting rid of the bad cops instead of closing ranks and maintaining the blue wall in every case? Police sometimes make mistakes, and some police shouldn’t be on the force at all. If you deny that, you’re not living in the real world.

  66. 66
    Chad N. Freude says:

    Chad, you’re arguing with Psycheout in a manner that suggests you want him or her to eventually say “You’re right”.

    No, I just want to see the reasoning that leads people to asserting smug, sarcastic conclusions about serious social and political issues. Not to mention conclusions about people whom they know nothing about. I don’t expect an acknowledgement of any opinion — or fact — that I express.

  67. 67
    Psycheout says:

    I always argue in good faith. And what JWW said, both times. Word, brother.

  68. 68
    myiq2xu says:

    If they are, you will ask why could they not do more?

    Yeah, that’s what us progressives always want to do; we ask “why could they not do more?”

    One wrongful death is too many. One misuse/abuse of force is over the limit. One rights violation is sufficient reason to be alarmed.

    Even if we can’t reach perfection we can still try to make progress. Make tomorrow better than today.

    Progress – Progressive

    Get it?

  69. 69
    Psycheout says:

    Progress – Progressive

    Get it?

    = – ive? I don’t get it.

  70. 70

    […] Radley Balko links to the single most amazing taser story I’ve read. John Cole’s got a doozy: toweled deaf man taking a bath is Tasered for not obeying officers’ commands, after they mistakenly entered his home. […]

  71. 71
    r€nato says:

    I don’t get it.

    I’ll say.

  72. 72
    myiq2xu says:

    = – ive? I don’t get it.

    Psycheout = Psychotic

    Perhaps this shoe would fit you better.

  73. 73
    Psycheout says:

    Perhaps this shoe would fit you better.

    Size 10. And I still don’t get it. Is this some kind of socialist code for something?

  74. 74
    Chad N. Freude says:

    I always argue in good faith.

    I must have missed or misunderstood the arguments. All I’ve seen is sarcasm and invective. Would you summarize the position you’ve been arguing?

    And what JWW said, both times. Word, brother.

    JWW doesn’t disclose what he disagrees with or why. He tosses insults and seems to think he’s made a point. And I’m not your brother, for which my family is thankful.

  75. 75
    myiq2xu says:

    Is this some kind of socialist code for something?

    I wouldn’t know, I’m not a socialist. I’m not a National Socialist either, although you seem to have some areas of agreement with the latter group.

    Naw, I was just suggesting that if that particular shoe should fit you, you should wear it. Or is it a boot?

  76. 76
    Beej says:

    I believe that JWW drinks heavily. It’s the only way I can explain the strangeness that is JWW.

  77. 77
    Reporting? says:

    The article you link to for the Eyewitness News 12 website reads like a press release from the police department. The reporter dutifully asserts as a fact that the “Officers were worried about their own safety” and that “Police wish it never happened, but with the information they had at the time, their choices were limited.”

    Perhaps some follow up questions from the reporter would have been appropriate, e.g., why was the man in a towel so threatening or why was there no other option but to open fire with the Taser?

  78. 78
    rachel says:

    I had an uncle who drank himself to death; JWW sounds a lot like him.

  79. 79
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    I am beginning to become concerned that, because Tasers are not (usually) lethal, some cops may inclined to tase first and ask questions afterwards.

    ++

    Some years ago I read a report claiming that people had started driving more recklessly because cars had become so much safer; you’re odds of surviving a major accident are much higher than they used to be, so people take more risks than they used to.

    I think there’s a similar mentality with tasers and other non-lethal weapons. The odds of actually killing someone with it is relatively low, so there’s a greater tendency to use it in situations where it isn’t warranted.

    I can understand a cop wanting to get control over a suspect or situation as quickly as possible; too many cops have been injured or killed in similar situations. Better training would help, but I think experience is the key factor here. And I agree that cops get paid shit based on what we expect from them.

  80. 80
    Buck says:

    “And I agree that cops get paid shit based on what we expect from them.” -Grumpy Code Monkey

    Easily fixed, if not for the millions wasted/disappearing in Iraq daily.

    (Awaits the Einsteins that will vehemently disagree and lay the blame squarely on funding public education. For, you see, education is the Achilles’ heel of conservative ideology.)

  81. 81
    Justin says:

    Liberal (n) – a conservative who has been arbitrarily tasered by police

  82. 82
    bob says:

    Cops are out of control thugs. Period.

  83. 83
    Punchy says:

    How long you figure it will take for them to be misused in the private market?

    50+ YouTube vids of college kids getting drunk and Tazing each other the first month this becomes available….

  84. 84

    I’m going to get to the officer problem – and it’s a big one and it’s at root of a lot of these problems – but first I want to counter a couple of remarks that are popping up consistently.

    re pantomiming “get on the floor” – no. Officers are taught two-handed grip. When you’re highly stressed you do what you’ve practiced doing.

    re his condition. Folks, I spent some years working in a prison. More than one inmate hid a shank in his butt crack. We had visitors attempt to smuggle in weapons. A couple of them held pistols in their butt cracks as well. Yes, people who are trying to hold something between their cheeks walk kind of funny. But if they’re old or appear (or claim to be) impaired that gets ‘hidden in the noise’. (Aside. Easily 90% of the visitors are law-abiding — or at least, in regard to dealing with the inmate. It’s the 10% that are bringing drugs, weapons, etc.)

    OK, I said I’d mention the big problem. The officers weren’t listening. There are two possible reasons, neither of which is an excuse, but one of which is surmountable while the other… They weren’t listening because they were scared and hurried, or they weren’t listening because they were exactly what’s being complained of above. If they were listening, the officer in charge could have told one of the others to use hand signals as already stated. Note, please, that it’s possible both types were present. Scared underlings under an “Authoritah” leader – or vice versa – give the same result as all being the same.

    I’m more bothered by the tased woman at the police office (John’s last example on this subject) than I am by this one – though it is a close thing. Here, I can see a ‘human error’ being the cause. That one… that was, IMO, pure abuse. And the fact the other officers didn’t interfere made it worse.

  85. 85

    Piss poor of you again, the day may come when you need the assistance of the officer. I hope that day never arrives at your door, but if it should, you will expect more. You and your ilk will never be satisfied as long as you, family or friend are not involved. If they are, you will ask why could they not do more? SO SORRY

    And peeps like yourself won’t see the harm in it until one of your own is wrongfully tased, or busted in on and killed in botched SWAT raid. I don’t think anyone is saying all cops are bad — just there are too many bad cops that don’t get called out for thuggish behavior. As Radley pointed out, that can only happen when good cops cover for them.

    There needs to be consequences. Cops aren’t supposed to be above the rule of law.

  86. 86
    Buck says:

    There’s a bigger picture here that hasn’t been discussed. It’s not merely just a story about some, perhaps bad, perhaps not, police officers tasing (tasering?) a deaf man in a towel. This is not just a “them vs us” story. They ARE us!

    Most read the story and instantly placed cops squarely at fault. Others considered the enormous pressure today’s police officers are under and offered latitude. Which is right?

    Both are.

    Let’s face it. Crimes are being committed every second of the day. So common that even local radio stations often don’t cover them any more. Our police force simply can not keep up with it!

    Willful crime is the problem here. And reducing it is the solution. How the hell to accomplish that, I wish I had an answer.

  87. 87
    bob says:

    You always hear “wait until you need an officer” or some such in defense of criminal cops. Sorry. Cops are just another gang of armed thugs without restraint. I have hardly ever heard of a cop stopping a crime in progress. I really can’t think of one that wasn’t pure luck. They catch bad guys sometimes, but the number one target of arrest in the country today is pot smokers. SCARY, those pot smokers. They might eat your cookies.

  88. 88
    Zifnab says:

    Willful crime is the problem here. And reducing it is the solution. How the hell to accomplish that, I wish I had an answer.

    And, see, here is where the other shoe hits the floor. Cops don’t do their god damn jobs when it comes to old fashioned leg work. My office was broken into about two months ago, and a set of laptops was stolen. We called the cops as soon as we discovered the theft. We got surveillance footage from the security cameras. Our on duty security officer even helped identify the perp. The cops came in, had us file a report, and then disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again. They didn’t do a damn thing to investigate, the guy was never caught, and our insurance company ended up handling the whole mess.

    It was a god-damn travesty. Pathetic.

    But don’t get me wrong, the HPD cops will still tase you as soon as look at you.

  89. 89
    John Cole says:

    Kirk- I respect your opinion and everything, but if you can condone tasering deaf naked men in their own homes because the police were scared, you can condone anything.

    At that point, you are part of the problem.

  90. 90

    I’m more bothered by the tased woman at the police office (John’s last example on this subject) than I am by this one – though it is a close thing. Here, I can see a ‘human error’ being the cause. That one… that was, IMO, pure abuse. And the fact the other officers didn’t interfere made it worse.

    Agreed. I do think there is a concern with tasers that they are treated too lightly, but there is a difference between using one for the purpose of getting someone down on the ground, and using one just for the pain.

  91. 91
    Cassidy says:

    ust there are too many bad cops that don’t get called out for thuggish behavior.

    You’re making a separate argument here. Cops making a tactical decision in a possibly hostile environment is not thuggish behavior. On the flip side, there are many bad cops, I’m sure, who are not taken to task for their bullying behavior. Most likely this situation is exactly as it reads: cops making a decision, that in hindsight was misguided, but at the time was tactically sound.

    Secondly, re: the motioning to the guy. The story states that the gentleman kept referring to his ear. It stands to reason that the cops were also telling him and motioning for him to get down at the same time.

    Lastly, a tactical entry is a very tense environment. Once inside, if you haven’t met resistance, you have seconds, if that, to identify potentially hazardous targets. At the same time, you have seconds to identify non-threatening bystanders. Beyond that, you have a short window of time to secure the room, before the targets get over the shock and begin to resist.

    While this was obviously a bad situation and I do feel sympathy for the man tasered, it is completely ludicrous to assume the cops were “thugs” or whatnot, simply for making a tactical decision based on the knowledge they had at the time.

  92. 92
    Cassidy says:

    Also, in a world of easily concealed weapons, drug use, and violent felons, it is unrealistic to expect police officers to not consider every situation a possible life threatening event. It is simply selfish and childish of you to expect cops to be willing to die to soothe your more humanistic tendencies.

  93. 93
    John Cole says:

    Also, in a world of easily concealed weapons, drug use, and violent felons, it is unrealistic to expect police officers to not consider every situation a possible life threatening event. It is simply selfish and childish of you to expect cops to be willing to die to soothe your more humanistic tendencies.

    Oh, blow it out your ass. If you think it is perfectly acceptable for cops to taser anyone they want in any situation they want because they have a dangerous job, then I submit it is perfectly acceptable for me to pre-emptively taser every cop I see before they mistake me for a criminal and taser me because they are scared.

    I say again:

    Now, in all seriousness, something has gone very wrong when your “limited choices” as a police officer are:

    A.) Shoot the startled naked deaf homeowner shouting “I can’t hear!”

    B.) Taser the startled naked deaf homeowner shouting “I can’t hear!”

    I don’t think it makes me a humanistic pussy to state things have gone terribly fucking wrong if those are our only options. And you can always find another less dangerous, line of work if you can not work your way through that conundrum. Malls need security, you know.

  94. 94
    b-psycho says:

    WTF’d they think he was gonna do, drop the towel and immediately assrape ’em to death in a fit of rage?

  95. 95
    bob says:

    It’s childish of cops to use deadly force because they are askeert of a guy in a fucking towel you sadistic creep. It’s time to forego “tactical entry” bullshit. I’m sick of reading stories about how cops were in the wrong house and shot someone. It is NOT an isolated occurance. The fucking bullshit drug war is the cause of all of this. The traitors to this country are Nixon, Reagan, Bush and Bush, with an assist by Clinton. If you REALLY think the drug situation was worse in the sixties than it is today, you are just too fucking stupid to have your opinion count.

  96. 96
    KCinDC says:

    Malls need security, you know.

    John, you’re assuming the same guys won’t be tasering people as mall cops.

  97. 97
    Cassidy says:

    If you think it is perfectly acceptable for cops to taser anyone they want in any situation they want because they have a dangerous job,

    I don’t think that and it’s not what I said. Does this happen? Of course it does. But is this particular incident a case of that? I don’t think so. The facts and scenario tend to support a “bad shit happens” kind of circumstance. The right decision was made with the wrong information. Unfortunately, the police have no way of knowing the kind of things that made this a bad situation.

    I don’t think it makes me a humanistic pussy to state things have gone terribly fucking wrong if those are our only options.

    Neither do I. But, and you know this as a former Combat Arms personnel, in a tactical situation, especially one as potentially volatile as an urban scenario, entry teams have a very small window of opportunity to seize and secure. It is completely unreasonable to expect them to give up that window, and their safety, to ask the guy politely to go get his hearing aid.

    WTF’d they think he was gonna do, drop the towel and immediately assrape ‘em to death in a fit of rage?

    Tongue in cheek aside, he wouldn’t be the first individual to confront the police wearing no clothing. If the shooting had been real, it stands to reason that he would be considered armed, regardless of his outfit.

    It’s childish of cops to use deadly force

    Using a taser is not deadly force. As with anything, there is always the off-chance it will have a deadly effect, but the purpose of the taser is to provide a non-lethal means of controlling a situation.

    If you REALLY think the drug situation was worse in the sixties than it is today, you are just too fucking stupid to have your opinion count.

    If you’re speaking to me, I’ve said no such thing, nor would I. But I will take you up on your opinion about opinions counting and ignore you from here on out.

  98. 98
    John Cole says:

    But, and you know this as a former Combat Arms personnel, in a tactical situation, especially one as potentially volatile as an urban scenario, entry teams have a very small window of opportunity to seize and secure. It is completely unreasonable to expect them to give up that window, and their safety, to ask the guy politely to go get his hearing aid.

    This was not a combat operation.

    Until they turned it into one. Seriously, if you are advocating the doctrine of pre-emptive tasing, you are going to have to find other people to support you.

    They went into a guys house. They caught him naked and in the tub. He was repeatedly stating he was deaf. They tased the naked man anyway. THEN THEY REPEATEDLY APOLOGIZED.

    I don’t want cops getting shot, but there has to be a middle ground, and training has got to include options. And if you can not come up with a way to handle this, then our entire police doctrine needs to be completely re-worked.

  99. 99
    Cassidy says:

    This was not a combat operation. Until they turned it into one.

    Bullshit. Entering a supposedly armed individuals home, who has allready allegedly been shooting it, is as close to combat as any civilian will get. Cops use the same tactics and doctrine we do, just with a longer ROE.

    Seriously, if you are advocating the doctrine of pre-emptive tasing,

    I haven’t. I am saying that this situation warrants the benefit of a doubt. This isn’t some retard cop tasing a 19(?) y/o kid. This was an tactical entry on an allegedly armed suspect. Big-frickin’-difference.

    They caught him naked and in the tub. He was repeatedly stating he was deaf. They tased the naked man anyway. THEN THEY REPEATEDLY APOLOGIZED.

    As stated before, what brand of clothing you choose to wear doesn’t make you any less dangerous. Now be reasonable. The man is yelling, the cops are yelling, no one could hear anything, all the cops can see is that this individual is not complying. I’m glad they apologized. I would have too. I don’t fault their decision, based on what they knew, but once the error was discovered, they tried to make it right.

    I don’t want cops getting shot, but there has to be a middle ground, and training has got to include options. And if you can not come up with a way to handle this, then our entire police doctrine needs to be completely re-worked.

    Maybe. But, dictating new policy based on exception is a bad idea. There are more cases of suspects getting violent with cops, than there are of cops tasing innocent people. And once again, I think you’re looking at this wrong. In a normal confront the suspect/ answer a call situation, cops have many options available to defuse a situation. But, a tactical entry on an armed suspect doesn’t leave a whole lot of options open, without placing the lives of our law enforcement personnel in unecessary danger.

  100. 100

    /bang head on desk/

    John, I’m not condoning. I can see where you think I am, but no, I’m not. I’m… ok, rough analogy taking it out of the emotional level.

    Teacher forces a student to take a reading test. Kid turns out to be dyslexic. Kid tried to tell and teacher made kid take test anyway.

    The teacher was wrong. WHY the teacher was wrong, however, makes a difference in HOW – and even IF – we can stop it from happening again. And, for that matter, what punishment should be given the teacher for the mistake.

    Did the teacher make the kid take it anyway just because he could? Was it because he’s new and had specific instructions that any such medical issue students were already processed? Does the fact that some kids will use excuses such as “I have a reading problem” to get out of the test matter? Is this a case of an extremely rare incident – the “falling between the cracks” situation, or is it common enough that adding one more check is economically viable. (Man, I stretched that analogy till it broke – sorry, but you get the idea.)

    I am not condoning the action. It was wrong. I’m making it clear that the blanket assessment that it was just because they were authoritarian thugs is just as wrong.

  101. 101
    John Cole says:

    Maybe. But, dictating new policy based on exception is a bad idea.

    That is just it. This is not the exception. This is the new gold standard of police work, and you are just peachy with it. Look at the bullshit you have spewed:

    “Entering a supposedly armed individuals home, who has allready allegedly been shooting it, is as close to combat as any civilian will get.”

    “This was an tactical entry on an allegedly armed suspect.

    ‘The man is yelling, the cops are yelling, no one could hear anything, all the cops can see is that this individual is not complying.

    The bullshit needs to stop. We are all “supposedly armed” and “allegedly armed.” Didn’t you see them taser the guy in Utah because he had three fingers in his pants?

    I am not saying police work is not dangerous. And yes, I am aware they received a call about shooting and this is why they were there in the first place. I am saying that the militarization of our police force is making matters worse, and every time they charge in like John Fucking Rambo into someone’s home and fuck up, you and others are here offering excuses about how scared they were and how dangerous it is and how you have to give them the benefit of the doubt.

    Fuck them. Find another line of work, and we need to fix our current police doctrine.

  102. 102
    Cassidy says:

    This is not the exception. This is the gold fucking standard of police work,

    Sorry, but you’re wrong. This is the exception. You hear about it more, because it is newsworthy. You don’t hear about every suspect that resisted arrest or had an armed confrontation with the police. You don’t hear about every suspect who is rightfully tasered. So touting this kind of thing as the norm, when it clearly is not, is both dishonest and unreasonable on your part.

    You can call them excuses if you want, but you’re also willfully denying your own training and knowledge. A tactical entry, when perceived as necessary, has a very limited set of options. If the police were militarized, as you allege, they’d have just shot him flat out. The fact that they took the time to decide that deadly force was not necessary says a lot about cooler heads prevailing.

    Is the system fixable? Absolutely. No system or SOP is perfect. But the have to take into consideration the worst case scenario, especially in an urban situation. Do you not recall the acronym PACE…primary, alternate, contingency, emergency (I know you were a tanker, but c’mon, lol)? You must always plan for the emergency and hope that the primary plan stays intact.

  103. 103
    John Cole says:

    No, Cassidy- tactical entries are the gold standard. No-knock raids are the gold standard. It is their first and last option anymore, and it leads to more and more scenarios like above. Our entire doctrine needs to be re-worked. I don’t care how many times it goes right- it is the ones where it goes wrong that necessitate the change.

  104. 104
    Cassidy says:

    I guess agree to disagree is the option here. I don’t see it that way and I do not believe exceptions should ever be the groundwork for policy.

  105. 105

    By the way, somehow some strange shift in location has happened. He was not in the tub. He was – depending on the news story you read – either stepping into the hallway OR stepping into his living room. Picture it – officers are in the living room and this nearly naked man steps out of an entryway (room? hall? It’s not their house, how do they KNOW?).

    Which raises one question in my mind. Where was the hand holding the towel? In front? At the side (or even slightly back)?

    You’ve responded to a shooting. You’ve entered the premises when there was no response to your knock. (THERE is a digression that is frightening, the things that can be done when it’s tied into “suspected crime in progress”.) Because it’s a shooting you’ve got weapon drawn (and thank diety of choice it’s taser instead of gun). You hear noises and start across the room toward them, and someone steps out wearing only a towel. He keeps gesturing at his head and yelling something (ever listen to the near deaf?), but his other hand is about waist level and slightly behind is side, out of sight. And he refuses to obey your command to put both hands in sight and turn around. Remember, you’re there in response to a possible shooting. Is he holding?

    On the other hand, same situation to:
    … his other hand is holding his towel at his front.

    In this case, if he’s carrying he’s got to REACH FOR IT – whether he’s tucked it under the towel in front or in back. (Though, with a stretch, it’s conceivable he was holding a gun through the towel. That’s getting too far for me, mainly because it appears everyone was surprised and tucking a gun that way takes preparation. Oh, wait, did the officers bang at the door yelling “police” before entering?)

    yaknow, until I really started thinking about this, I wasn’t condoning it. The more I do, the more I think it shifts into the gray zone. If he’d been in the tub – or even in the bathroom – I’d stay with the ‘this is wrong, and let’s focus on the why/how so we can properly stop it from happening again’ position. But he wasn’t there. And that changes, well, a lot.

  106. 106
    Cassidy says:

    Really, I’d like to see our police stop being painted as thugs because they have the gall to place their lives at a level of priority higher than that of a possibly armed suspect. Yeah, there are a lot of bad cops out there, but it’s bullshit to treat them all like that.

  107. 107
    John Cole says:

    By the way, somehow some strange shift in location has happened. He was not in the tub. He was – depending on the news story you read – either stepping into the hallway OR stepping into his living room. Picture it – officers are in the living room and this nearly naked man steps out of an entryway (room? hall? It’s not their house, how do they KNOW?).

    Anyway you slice or dice or parse this story, a few simple facts remain clear. An innocent naked deaf man was in his own home and tasered by police, who promptly acknowledged their mistake and apologized.

    You all seem to have the attitude that “Mistakes happen” and thus we can just brush this off to the situation. I disagree. How the police got in his living room is just as important as their snap judgement to taser him.

    Bot of those are problematic. Both need to be addressed. We need to walk back from the militarization of the police.

    And I am not suggesting this is the case here, but I spent a good bit of time in the Guard with former active duty guys who were now cops. They lived for cowboying up. They lived for raids.

    We need to get this shit under control.

  108. 108
    jcricket says:

    No, Cassidy- tactical entries are the gold standard. No-knock raids are the gold standard. It is their first and last option anymore, and it leads to more and more scenarios like above. Our entire doctrine needs to be re-worked. I don’t care how many times it goes right- it is the ones where it goes wrong that necessitate the change.

    Yep, despite a steady drop in crime, especially violent crime (recently this rate has inched upward), police are responding with ever increasing force. Being a police officer is a more dangerous job than most, but it’s not nearly as dangerous as it used to be, and the police are simply heading the wrong direction if they think “taze first, ask questions later” is the right policy. Unless they want even less community cooperation than they’re getting now, and more oversight, audits and lawsuits.

    I think the problem is the lack of nuance in our society in general. John Kerry makes a perfectly legitimate statement that fighting terrorism really requires international police cooperation and he’s pillories by everyone for being a pussy.

    From everything I’ve read, police have had greater success, with fewer “side effects” (read: false incarcerations, fewer innocent people being tasered and/or shot) by focusing on getting more officers on the ground, doing community outreach, etc. Of course this requires a budget increase, which means, gasp, increasing taxes!

    And we’re back to what I said way up-thread. If you spend all your time demonizing and defunding the government (or running it as your own private patronage account), it shouldn’t be a surprise when an arm of the government (FEMA, the police, DOT, IRS) fucks shit up.

  109. 109
    D. Mason says:

    especially in an urban situation

    Maybe others who stated this haven’t been clear enough for you. This incident did not take place in an “urban enviroment” it took place in a “completely innocent mans bathroom”. See the difference? If not you need to go back to elementary school. If the cops break into someones home in error they should be liable for any damages or crimes committed while there, including assault with a deadly weapon. Failure to hold them fully accountable automatically makes them a gang of armed thugs. Why are you soft on crime?

    The fault of any violence directed towards cops falls squarely into the laps of these half-wit criminals in uniform.

    Maybe they should change the police tag-line “to serve and protect”. How about “WARNING: failure to comply will result in torture” or “show me your papers” either of those is much more fitting.

  110. 110
    Fledermaus says:

    Yeah, there are a lot of bad cops out there, but it’s bullshit to treat them all like that.

    Well if they don’t like it perhaps they shouldn’t defend the bad abusive cops.

    I’m sick of the ‘cops have a dangerous job’ excuse. Though shit. A citizen tazering someone commits felony assault. The time my come where we will have to require that cops defend their actions in as a defendant in a court of law. Let’s treat them like every other citizen. If the tazering was justified in self defense I’m sure the jury will acquit.

  111. 111
    Cassidy says:

    Maybe others who stated this haven’t been clear enough for you. This incident did not take place in an “urban enviroment” it took place in a “completely innocent mans bathroom”. See the difference? If not you need to go back to elementary school.

    For the unwilling and unlearned…an “urban environment”, as referred to in this kind of conversation, is a man-made, built-up environment, i.e. city, town, house, room, etc. You would do well to ask before insulting people. If you don’t understand the terminology or the context, please feel free to say so and I will happily explain myself.

    Anyway you slice or dice or parse this story, a few simple facts remain clear. An innocent naked deaf manalleged armed suspect was in his own home and tasered by police, who promptly acknowledged their mistake and apologized.

    Fixed.

    Jcricket, I tend to think you’re right. I do believe some situations call for more militarized tactics and this was one of them, as the cops understood it to be before the incident.

  112. 112
    Cassidy says:

    If the cops break into someones home in error they should be liable for any damages or crimes committed while there, including assault with a deadly weapon.

    I was always under the impression the city was responsible for restitution. If you know otherwise, please provide the link. I’d be very interested in reading that. As to crimes, every action is reviewed and if the actions taken were deemed inappropriate, then it is punished.

    Failure to hold them fully accountable automatically makes them a gang of armed thugs. Why are you soft on crime?

    I’m all for the death penalty man. The more the better. And with a rope, why waste the oil.

  113. 113
    HyperIon says:

    the number one target of arrest in the country today is pot smokers

    cite, please?

  114. 114
    Cassidy says:

    Sorry for the triple post.

    The militarization of our police is in response to the society we live in. Individuals are more deadly than they used to be and the environments are getting worse. We have a whole urban subculture that is raised to not respect the police for any reason, or value them as human beings. These days the average looking citizen may not be so law abiding. How do you really expect them to react to that? Where purple uniforms and sing the barney song in an effort to reach out?

  115. 115

    What does it matter whether the guy came out of the bathroom or not? The basic facts are the cops busted into this guy’s home. Forced entry. That means they maybe knocked once and broke the freaking door down. There is presumably more than one cop there. I’d guess at least four, probably more. They’re responding to a shooting so one assumes they have on body armor. They’re confronted with one naked guy holding a towel and pointing to his ear telling them he can’t hear. If they’re shouting so loud, they can’t hear him, then they’re shouting TOO loud. They’re escalating the confrontation, not defusing it. How much freaking danger are they in — really? If they didn’t have tasers, would they have shot the guy with a gun? I hate to think that would be considered the appropriate response.

    Plus they’re responding to an anonymous tip obviously. Another problem that continually resurfaces in these no-knock, low-knock raids. Bad information and shoddy verification.

    This is not an isolated incident. Radley has a white paper with an interactive map. This happens repeatedly, all over the country and it’s a direct result of militarizing the police departments. They have all this forfeiture money from drug busts that can only be used on equipment so every podunk PD has a SWAT team. Of course, they have all these toys and they want to use them.

    When I was kid, police were hired to protect and serve, not abuse and intimidate. John’s right. This is policy problem. And I might note that the Rochester cops managed to take the hostage guy into custody and resolve that problem without actually using any of their fancy stuff or tasing the perp. I didn’t see any cops shouting and they arguably had a good reason to fear for their lives. I thought that was a remarkable example of cops who got it right.

    This cowboy shit has got to stop. Every time there’s a botched raid, it undermines the public confidence in the PD. That only puts everyone in more danger.

  116. 116
    Cassidy says:

    Every time there’s a botched raid,

    So what does every successful police action cause? How often do you recognize these public servants for a job well done?

  117. 117
    John Cole says:

    So what does every successful police action cause? How often do you recognize these public servants for a job well done?

    Every two weeks when they get a paycheck. I don’t get a cookie every time someone learns something.

  118. 118
    John Cole says:

    The militarization of our police is in response to the society we live in. Individuals are more deadly than they used to be and the environments are getting worse. We have a whole urban subculture that is raised to not respect the police for any reason, or value them as human beings. These days the average looking citizen may not be so law abiding. How do you really expect them to react to that? Where purple uniforms and sing the barney song in an effort to reach out?

    Shorter Cassidy- The police will stand down when the rabble shapes up.

    Individuals are more deadly than they used to be and the environments are getting worse. We have a whole urban subculture that is raised to not respect

    A.) People are just as deadly as they have always been.

    B.) Re: not respecting cops, think there may be a touch of, I dunno, CAUSE AND EFFECT?

  119. 119
    Cassidy says:

    I would really like to see a comparison of how many successful police actions happen vs. “botched” ones, before I even consider that argument as valid.

  120. 120

    John, two things. The important one first.

    “We need to get this shit under control.” Agreed, 100%, that we have GOT to corral the cowboys.

    “Anyway you slice or dice or parse this story, a few simple facts remain clear. An innocent naked deaf man was in his own home and tasered by police, who promptly acknowledged their mistake and apologized.” Naked is wrong. And there are two additional facts that matter.

    a) The police were there because someone called in a shooting. (wrong address, which is yet more shit that happens too often and needs brought under control, but it doesn’t change the event to which they were responding.)

    b) The following facts were known AFTER THE EVENT: Innocent, deaf, in his own home. At the time of the incident, the facts were: “A towel-clad man is in a house where a shooting had been reported, is yelling at us (the police) and won’t show that both hands are empty.” The classic line is right. “What did they know, and when did they know it.” Ignorance IS a defense if the ignorance was not curable in advance.

    As it happens, I’m kind of angry about this incident, but the cause is one that terrifies me a lot more than cowboys with tasers. I already said it but let me say it again.

    They went to the wrong address.

    There’s nothing in there about no-knock, and given the ‘possible crime in progress’ a no-knock warrant probably wasn’t approved. (Yes, I said probably. And I grant that the cops may have done an informal no-knock, screw the warrant because it’s a crime in progress. I bet, as in I’ll put down a bit of change, that once we get all the facts including neighbors seeing the police arrive that we find they did, in fact, pound on the door first.) All that verbiage aside, the number of wrong address incidents is WAY too high, and in anything but ‘talk to resident’ calls the results range from bad to tragic.

  121. 121
    Cassidy says:

    Shorter Cassidy- The police will stand down when the rabble shapes upThe police will adjust tactics and procedure, based upon the increased possibility of deadly threats.

    Fixed.

    A.) People are just as deadly as they have always been.

    Bullshit. The average person has a much better means at their disposal of killing cops.

    B.) Re: not respecting cops, think there may be a touch of, I dunno, CAUSE AND EFFECT?

    Nope.

  122. 122
    Cassidy says:

    Every two weeks when they get a paycheck. I don’t get a cookie every time someone learns something.

    Yeah and I bet it pisses you off the one time you do something wrong and someone makes a big deal of it. Don’t play coy.

  123. 123
    John Cole says:

    I would really like to see a comparison of how many successful police actions happen vs. “botched” ones, before I even consider that argument as valid.

    From what I have seen so far, you would categorize this as a successful police action. From your narrative, the following happened:

    “In an increasingly dangerous urban setting, one in which law enforcement appropriately adopts militaristic tactics out of fear and necessity, police responded to a shots fired call, forced entry into a house, found a man in a towel who refused to comply with officer demands, and was thus tasered and subdued because he may have been carrying the shank of doom (much more dangerous now than through the ages, we are assured) wedged into his ass cheeks. Mission accomplished. No harm, no foul.”

  124. 124
    Buck says:

    Whether an innocent naked deaf man or an alleged armed suspect, ya gotta give him credit. If it were me thrown into that situation, I probably would have lost it. (I’ve got this stupid idea in my head that my home is my castle, and that the only people that would ever be waiting to jump me in the hallway as I exited from my bath could only be bad guys)

    If we could take presumption of innocence just a bit more seriously, and maybe revisit the laws that allow officers to enter homes willy-nilly, this incident surely wouldn’t have occurred.

    Remember, the man didn’t just get tasered. He got humiliated! Rights to privacy in this country? He found out what a lie that is! He will never again feel secure in that right, for he now knows better.

    And for this he gets an apology.

  125. 125
    John Cole says:

    Yeah and I bet it pisses you off the one time you do something wrong and someone makes a big deal of it. Don’t play coy.

    As great as the temptation may sometimes be, I don’t taser/shoot/beat my students.

  126. 126
    bob says:

    Yes, Cassidy, you are a piece of shit. Your opinion does in fact smell like shit. If you don’t like the personal attack, too bad. You advocate for police using deadly force for no fucking reason except their personal fear. Tasers have proven to kill, therefore it is in fact deadly force. Guns sometimes don’t kill either, does that mean they aren’t deadly? You are just a pussy. Pusillanimous. That means you have the courage of a small child. Deadly force in the WRONG FUCKING HOUSE. Don’t you think if it was such a HUGE fucking deal, they might just try to get the right address? Just fuck you, you goddam nazi. Or commie. Or republcan. Or whatever version of totalitarian authoritarian asshole you are.

  127. 127
    Cassidy says:

    From what I have seen so far, you would categorize this as a successful police action. From your narrative, the following happened:

    From what I’ve seen, you’re arguing with emotional rhetoric and not any kind of logical or factual basis. But, we can assume this was an unsuccessful police action. I don’t take issue with the decisions made, based on the knowledge at hand, but in the end, the wrong guy was subdued.

    If we could take presumption of innocence just a bit more seriously, and maybe revisit the laws that allow officers to enter homes willy-nilly,

    “hey ma’am…are you okay in there…it sounds like you’re being brutally raped and beaten, but I”m not sure. If the male in there would just identify what he’s doing, I can move along without coming inot your home and checking.”

    Yeah…

  128. 128
    John Cole says:

    Cassidy- was this a successful police encounter?

  129. 129
    Buck says:

    “hey ma’am…are you okay in there…it sounds like you’re being brutally raped and beaten, but I”m not sure. If the male in there would just identify what he’s doing, I can move along without coming inot your home and checking.”

    Yeah…

    That’s an argument? Really??

  130. 130
    Cassidy says:

    Yes, Cassidy, you are a piece of shit. Your opinion does in fact smell like shit. If you don’t like the personal attack, too bad. You advocate for police using deadly force for no fucking reason except their personal fear. Tasers have proven to kill, therefore it is in fact deadly force. Guns sometimes don’t kill either, does that mean they aren’t deadly? You are just a pussy. Pusillanimous. That means you have the courage of a small child. Deadly force in the WRONG FUCKING HOUSE. Don’t you think if it was such a HUGE fucking deal, they might just try to get the right address? Just fuck you, you goddam nazi. Or commie. Or republcan. Or whatever version of totalitarian authoritarian asshole you are.

    That was awesome. Do it again. lol

    I especially love the disconnect from reality. You nailed fringe lunatic right on the head, with subtle hints of drugged out hippie and cowardly computer stud. Bravo. Beautiful frothing.

  131. 131
    Cassidy says:

    Cassidy- was this a successful police encounter?

    I allready said it wasn’t. We’d disagree as to why, I’m sure. I don’t think the cop’s decisions were wrong, but overall the scenario was bad, as it was the wrong suspect.

    hat’s an argument? Really??

    Silly isn’t it. So, you either give cops the leeway to make immediate decisions based on a possible crime in progress, or you make them stand around outside while a crime is being committed and knock on the door real loud so that the suspects can destroy evidence and ambush them upon entry.

  132. 132
    bob says:

    That’s right, Cassidy, you are the one advocating unnecessary force, and I am the one with the disconnect from reality. Bye asshole.

  133. 133
    John Cole says:

    I allready said it wasn’t. We’d disagree as to why, I’m sure. I don’t think the cop’s decisions were wrong, but overall the scenario was bad, as it was the wrong suspect.

    If the only thing that changed in the scenario was that the cops went to the RIGHT address, but everything else stayed the same, how would you categorize this- as a successful or botched police action?

  134. 134

    How often do you recognize these public servants for a job well done?

    Didn’t I just do that with the Rochester cops. I might note I also praised them in posts at at least two of my blogs, including the one at the Detroit News.

  135. 135
    Cassidy says:

    That’s right, Cassidy, you are the one advocating unnecessary force, and I am the one with the disconnect from reality. Bye asshole.

    Toodles…your humanitarian streak really show. lol

    I think you’d have to be more specific, John. If they went to the right address, but still found the exact same scenario, I’d say unsuccessful. No crime was being committed and this guy was subjected to a tactical entry by one of his neighbors for no reason.

    If you mean, they had come in and found a naked man who was armed, or at least a weapon within reach, and had been shooting it prior to his bath, then this would be a successful operation.

    Just because I’m defending the cop’s decision making doesn’t mean I think this scenario was all peachy-keen. Something wrong obviously happened. The man is definitely entitled to some gross apologies as well as damages. He has every right to be upset. The Dept. needs to analyze what happened here and see what they can do in the future to minimize this kind of mishap. But the tasering of a supposedly armed individual who was not complying with directions….I see nothing wrong with that.

  136. 136
    John Cole says:

    Just because I’m defending the cop’s decision making doesn’t mean I think this scenario was all peachy-keen. Something wrong obviously happened. The man is definitely entitled to some gross apologies as well as damages. He has every right to be upset. The Dept. needs to analyze what happened here and see what they can do in the future to minimize this kind of mishap. But the tasering of a supposedly armed individual who was not complying with directions….I see nothing wrong with that.

    This is where you lose me. You have no problems with the procedures, but a problem with the outcome. The procedures are going to produce the same damned outcome every time in this scenario.

    Which is why people like me are arguing the procedures need to be changed. Even if the cops acted appropriately according to procedures, the outcome is botched. I have a problem with that.

  137. 137
    Cassidy says:

    The botched outcome had nothing to do with the actions on the ground of the cops who actually entered the room and tased the suspect, which is where this debate started. I do not fault them for their decision making, based on what they knew at the time. Everything that makes it wrong came out after the fact.

    This doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement. But the only area they can actually improve in, that would have changed this outcome is a better verification procedure when a call is made. OTOH, to be able to respond to a crime in process, the police have to have the leeway to make snap decisions and intervene. It is impossible for this to happen, without at some point, something going wrong. But, to push this scenario as the common circumstance is just wrong. It’s the exception. And, yes, sometimes “shit happens”.

  138. 138
    John Cole says:

    This doesn’t mean there is no room for improvement. But the only area they can actually improve in, that would have changed this outcome is a better verification procedure when a call is made. OTOH, to be able to respond to a crime in process, the police have to have the leeway to make snap decisions and intervene. It is impossible for this to happen, without at some point, something going wrong. But, to push this scenario as the common circumstance is just wrong. It’s the exception. And, yes, sometimes “shit happens”.

    Nonsense. The way to solve this type of crap is to start treating potential threats like… potential threats. As it is now, cops are treating potential threats like.. THREATS.

    The guy was no threat. He did nothing “threatening” other than in the minds of cops and their apologists, in which a threat constitutes anything that is not locked up in the back of a squad car after being tased. Additionally, because people are under the perception that tasers are safe and fun and just like a college frat prank, they use them mindlessly.

    This guy was no threat- he was a potential threat that was treated like a threat. No amount of correct address checks is going to fix the fundamental problem here, no matter how many times you try to excuse away the judgement of the police officers.

    I will give you this- the cops probably were reacting in accordance to their training. Their training needs to be changed.

  139. 139
    Cassidy says:

    You just made absolutely no sense. Should they treat potential threats like 3 foot high faeries blowing rainbows out their ass?

  140. 140
    Cassidy says:

    He did nothing “threatening” other than in the minds of cops and their apologists,

    You’ll also find, if you choose to go back and review, that I never said he was “threatening”. I have said he was not complying with police directions, which can easily be interpreted as threatening in that kind of situation.

    I’d still like to see some numbers on this that show this as the practiced norm and not the exception.

  141. 141
    John Cole says:

    A naked man pointing at his ear saying “I am deaf” is not a threat. He is a potential threat who was treated as an actual threat.

    In order for someone to be a threat, they have to do something threatening. That is what separates potential threats from threats.

    This is not rocket science. Just because you want to define anything that has not been tasered or shot as a threat doesn’t make it the case.

  142. 142
    Cassidy says:

    Dude you are doing some serious parsing here. You’re actually bending logic to fit your POV.

    A naked man not complying with police directions, regardless of any impairments, is a potential threat. Potential threats are subdued or controlled before they become real threats. And you know this. You’re a vet. You know how this kind of thing works. You’ve been through the ROE courses. If this was anyone else, I could see your argument, but I know for a fact you know better.

  143. 143
    John Cole says:

    Cassidy- you are stacking the bar too far in the cops favor. Why did they not react to him saying “I AM DEAF?”

    Is this a well known ruse, to feign hearing impairment and then go all Natural Born Killers? or were these cops not in control of the situation, and just treated him as if he was the shooter, regardless of what was actually going on (and what was actually going on in this case is a large wet man in a towel was pointing to his ear saying “I AM DEAF.”)?

    Your attitude is, shoot first, priority number one is protecting the cops. Hell, ten years ago, before tasers, you would be explaining why the cops did the right thing shooting this guy with a gun. He was a potential threat, after all. Fuck him.

  144. 144
    D. Mason says:

    Maybe I’m being a lunatic here… Couldn’t they have tried to verify that shots were, in fact, fired? That seems to be the crux of the problem. The thugs took action on a phoned in report. Did they go to the complaintant first while monitoring the “offending” residence for further gunfire? Did they try to verify the gunshots with other neighbors? Did they do anything besides kick in the door and start assaulting people?

    I say all of these things as someone who was involved in an incident with a few similarities. When I was a child I lived in an apartment with my mother and one evening right after dinner we sat down on the couch for some TV. Within a few moments of my having sat down a gunshot went through our apartment… inches above where I was sitting. I felt the breeze on the top of my head when the bullet flew past and lodged in the wall I was facing – about 2 feet above the TV. It hit a wall stud so there was a lot of noise from both the shot and the multiple impacts. My mother and 2 of our neighbors called the cops. Our neighbors reported only gunshots, but we gave them all of the info necessary to be sure it was not just a car backfiring or some other random loud bang. They didn’t go to the apartment next door where the shot came from first, they came to us first. They verified our report and those of the other neighbors who had called in, they got the master key from the landlord and THEN they went to the apartment where the shots originated. He didn’t answer their knocks so they entered with the master key and sure enough they found the guy holding his 30/06 deer rifle, high on prescription medicine and alcohol mixed. That’s right folks he was holding a LOADED gun when they entered and being quite un-cooperative from the mix of drugs and booze, still they diffused the situation without any type of force, imagine that. Throughout all of that no one got injured. Compare and contrast.

  145. 145
    Fledermaus says:

    Potential threats are subdued or controlled before they become real threats. And you know this. You’re a vet.

    Ya know, maybe the cops would get more respect if they didn’t treat the country like a fucking war zone.

    They are stupid bullyies who are more eager to break out the flash bangs and battering rams rather than check a fucking address before they go storming in. An address, fer christsakes. It’s not rocket science, but I guess that’s asking for a little too much thinking for a bunch of community college dropouts.

  146. 146
    Fledermaus says:

    Potential threats are subdued or controlled before they become real threats. And you know this. You’re a vet.

    Ya know, maybe the cops would get more respect if they didn’t treat the country like a fucking war zone.

    They are stupid wanna-be bullies who are more eager to break out the flash bangs and battering rams rather than check a fucking address before they go storming in. An address, fer christsakes. It’s not rocket science, but I guess that’s asking for a little too much thinking for a bunch of community college dropouts.

  147. 147
    Cassidy says:

    Cassidy- you are stacking the bar too far in the cops favor.

    No, I’m being logical about it. In a potentially hostile environment, tactical decisions must be made, sometimes at a moments notice. Why did they not respond to his deaf comments? I don’t know, but there are plenty of reasonable explanations and “armed thugs” isn’t one of them.

    Is this a well known ruse, to feign hearing impairment and then go all Natural Born Killers?

    I’m not a cop and you’re not a cop, so I don’t know. In the absence of knowledge, I don’t think it is unreasonable to give the benefit of a doubt to those charged with maintaining public safety. Having been in similar situations myself while in Iraq, I can say that I certainly understand the mindset and circumstances.

    Your attitude is, shoot first, priority number one is protecting the cops.

    Wrong again. I don’t advocate shooting first, but I do advocate subduing threats/ potential threats with the minimum force necessary. Hysterics aside, the man is not dead. He was tasered. While painful and no doubt traumatizing, he is still alive. The “cowboys” would have put two in the chest and called it a good shoot. Fortunately, the potential threat was controlled with the minimum amount of force and he is still alive.

  148. 148
    Cassidy says:

    They are stupid wanna-be bullies who are more eager to break out the flash bangs and battering rams rather than check a fucking address before they go storming in. An address, fer christsakes. It’s not rocket science, but I guess that’s asking for a little too much thinking for a bunch of community college dropouts.

    Case in point: emotional hysterics are useless.

  149. 149
    John Cole says:

    Fortunately, the potential threat was controlled with the minimum amount of force and he is still alive.

    The minimum amount of force required to defuse this situation was none. And the potential threat was no threat at all.

  150. 150
    D. Mason says:

    I do advocate subduing threats/ potential threats with the minimum force necessary

    The minimum force necessary in this situation would probably have been some hand signals. Seems to me that you advocate the maximum force allowable by shoddily prepared policies.

  151. 151
    Fledermaus says:

    Case in point: emotional hysterics are useless.

    Yeah, god forbid cops should investigate stuff before going in guns blazing. I have no tolerance for someone who does an important job that poorly.

  152. 152
    StrandedVandal says:

    Seems to me that perhaps a calm assessment of the situation by a trained professional would have been a better course of action. Tasering a dude in a towel, probably not the best solution. Taser first, ask questions later is the new paradigm.

    Oh, and you need a better caliber of troll John. These are pretty pathetic.

  153. 153
    jcricket says:

    A.) People are just as deadly as they have always been.

    I know you were trying to defuse Cassidy’s idiotic hyperbole about Mega City 1 and the need for Judge Dredd, but people are, in fact, less violent than they used to be.

    Far from a generation of super-predators, teen crime is way down. Violent crime reached the lowest point in 50 years during the Clinton administration, only to tick up slightly during Bush (not blaming Bush, stating facts). New York City (11 million people) is now on pace to have less than 500 murders total this year (lowest number recorded evah, I believe).

    It is a fact that gangs have gotten more organized and more violent. In the places where gang activity is common, I support better arming and training the police to deal with that reality.

    However, statistically speaking there’s a decreasing need for an overly armed police force, and it’s dishonest hyperbole to claim otherwise (as Cassidy does). Only if you “torture” the logic so that every potential confrontation is literally life-and-death does it support the tase/shoot-first attitude being increasingly displayed by today’s police forces.

  154. 154
    myiq2xu says:

    Let’s see, somebody reported a “shot” being fired, so the cops “ad” to do a “forced entry.”

    Who reported the alleged “shot?” Did they see a gun? Could it have been a backfire, a firecracker, or something else? What was the specific uegency that required the cops to kick in this particular door? How much time had passed and what investigation was done prior to busting in?

    Did you know cops often use bogus calls as an excuse to bust in and search when they have ulterior motives and can’t get a warrant? It’s a dead giveaway when the drug task force shows up to do a “child-welfare” check, based upon some anonymous call.

    Many of the Tazing reports that have been in the news lately involve cops that either were too lazy or in too much of a hurry (an urgency which the cops themselves created)to try something else.

    Since when were we expected to give immediate and unquestioning compliance to the orders of a cop anywhere and anytime? With the likelihood of being shot, tazed, pepper-sprayed, beaten and/or arrested as the alternative?

    Most cops are decent people but too many of them are thugs and bullies using their badges as an excuse to abuse power. We need to weed out the bad ones and provide better training ang guidelines to the rest.

    I think Tazing someone who is unarmed and outnumbered by police just because they won’t cooperate is an abuse of force.

    It’s also absurd to bust into someone’s home, scare the shit out of them, and then call it justifiable to shoot them when they react by reaching for something (the phone, a weapon, their pants or a hearing aid.) At least the cops are Tazing them now instead of pumping them full of lead. I guess that’s progress.

  155. 155
    Tsulagi says:

    Skimming through today’s comments in this thread, I am curious about a couple of things that maybe Kirk Spencer could answer as it seems he may/likely has some law enforcement background and training.

    I can understand that encountering a naked deaf guy in a potentially hostile situation may not be an everyday occurrence for police officers. Might not have its own chapter in the Police Field Manual.

    But what about when there are language barriers? If police yell “GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR!” and the potential suspect says “Que?,” then what? If none of the officers speaks Spanish or even know Spanish was spoken, do you just tase the guy and sort it out later? I would think coming across language barriers would be common enough they would have basic training covering that.

    I also have a hard time understanding how the officers feared for their safety in this situation. Don’t know about Wichita, but in my little slice of American heaven, if police are responding to a shooting call they come with more than a force of two. Especially if they’re going to be entering a house not knowing what’s on the other side of the door. They’re coming with a crowd. I’m guessing the same happened here even though the article didn’t give a number, only that “officers” were present.

    I would also think that while one or more officers confronted naked guy with a towel, the other officers checked the rest of the house to make sure he was the only threat. Then rejoined their fellow officers.

    Not to sound macho, but if I’m facing naked guy with a towel while I have my department issued 9mm or 12 ga. pointed at his chest/heart, I’d be feeling pretty good about the odds. I’d be feeling even better also knowing I have 1, 2, 4, 6 or however many police buddies doing the same. Even if naked guy has a hand obscured by the towel, I know I can pull the trigger well before he can whip out anything from behind that towel. Would police officers generally be fearful for their personal safety in this situation?

    Just seems they’re a little quick to tase. Maybe when they didn’t have that nifty tool they did a little more thinking in a situation to minimize the use of their lethal weapon. It’s good they have a non-lethal option now, but how about having that option AND continue to think. In this example it seemed they had little to no previous training how to handle this type of situation which would help reduce their reaction time so they just defaulted to tasing.

  156. 156
    LiberalTarian says:

    I would really like to hear more about the shooting that brought the cops to his place. Filing a false report is a crime, but if a vindictive neighbor says he heard a shot fired, how are you going to prove he didn’t? The deaf guy could have been killed because his neighbor wanted him to suffer.

    This pretty much puts the lid on my trust of the police. That and the fact that they can say whatever they want, aka lie their asses off. I guess the idea is that they can lie to criminals, to get them to confess, but they can lie about anything at any time with no consequences, “to get information.”

    So, we have cops that can lie (and do) and can tase/shoot you, and it will almost always end up as the victims fault (unless you have surveillance video that they don’t steal from you that can be given to a media source that will get it out). Bad juju. Very bad.

  157. 157
    Cassidy says:

    Jcricket, as I had to say to Bob, if you need further clarification, then all you must do is ask. Resorting to insults and dishonestly attributing words to me that i did not say, only makes you look like the idiot.

    John, you need a better caliber of informed reader. These are pathetic.

  158. 158
    Cassidy says:

    The funny irony is that you all make fun of neocons and conservatives and their pants wetting fear of jihadist, yet you all seem to find jackbooted thugs in your sleep.

  159. 159
    binzinerator says:

    Cassidy said:

    This was an tactical entry on an allegedly armed suspect.

    and this

    I do not believe exceptions should ever be the groundwork for policy

    These two statements disturb me greatly. Both extremely wrong-headed views to have for our police and for how they use force.

    The belief that police work is a combat operation where ‘allegedly armed’ and ‘supposedly armed’ are the new thresholds for using deadly force, coupled with the belief that exceptions — mistakes — should have no bearing on those thresholds will make for a frightening, abusive and unjust society.

    We all know police work is dangerous. But having police — and especially allowing them to use force — was to make our society and the lives of ordinary, law-abiding citizens more secure and less dangerous, not less secure and more dangerous.

    It erodes the justification for having a police force. It certainly erodes the public trust in the police.

    The abuses are not the rule, of course, but I think they are not the rare phenomenon that Cassidy seems to think they are. If these things were so rare, why do these guys’ superiors cover for them? To paraphrase one of Cole’s replies, if they see nothing wrong with tasering deaf naked men in their own homes because their officers were scared, they will see nothing wrong with any abuses their officers might do. It’s becoming policy not exception.

    I am aware that when they piss away all my trust, I will have the beginnings of fear. A rational person rightly fears untrustworthy people who are armed and use force as a first and last option upon suspicion alone.

    This ‘warrior’ mentality seems to be more and more how police think. “Tactical” this and “tactical” that — what happened to thinking of potential bad guys as suspects, not the enemy? Or the populace as citizens, not civilians? It’s no longer a forced entry without warrant into a person’s home, it’s now a ‘tactical entry’. And it’s not even a person’s home anymore, it’s an ‘urban setting’.

    It’s not police work anymore, it’s become combat operations.

    These taserings corrode our society, and it weakens, not strengthens a cop’s role as an integral and valued member of our society. It has also weakened one of their most effective weapons in combating crime, one of their most powerful allies, and possibly one of their best fringe benefits — society’s respect for them and for what they do.

    We have a whole urban subculture that is raised to not respect.

    I guess “urban subculture” must be the new codeword for uppity ni**ers. But I am raising my own suburban white middle class kids to not respect them either. They will learn to obey the police because they have to, not out of any respect.

    It is hard to maintain respect for people who might shoot your cowering pregnant wife through the neck with electricity, or who will zap you in your bath towel as you come to the door to see who just broke in your house and you couldn’t understand what they wanted you to do.

    Incidentally, as more and more non-“urban subculture” people get electroshocked or know people who do, I would think their attitudes toward police will become indistinguishable from that of the disrespectful “urban subculture”. (I am inclined to think the attitudes of the “urban subculture” toward the police were shaped by similar abuses.)

    All these taserings, and the beginnings of a cop mentality that sees what they do as combat — with a lowering of the threshold on the use of force — I’d be doing my kids a disservice by teaching them to respect the police. They need to know about things as they are, not what I wish things could be. They are presumed innocent but our new combat cops can electrocute them with impunity.

  160. 160
    bob says:

    After 7 hours, still defending the indefensible. You advocate unnecessary violence. Period. You have said so. I stopped talking to you god knows how long ago and you still are on ME. Face it dude, you are the one in the wrong. I never attributed words to you. The drug war reference didn’t have anything but a general connection, as my thesis is the drug war is the source of all this ultraviolence from the police. And I don’t see jackbooted thugs everywhere, but I HAVE had jackbooted thugs in my apartment without a warrant because of an anonymous complaint of a fight. It was 5 am and my girlfriend and I were asleep. In an otherwise empty 3 bedroom apartment. There was no fight. They just harrassed the new long hair in the neighborhood. Don’t like the insults? Fuck you, asshole. You condone thuggery. And have spent the WHOLE day doing so. Fuck you.

  161. 161
    Cassidy says:

    I guess “urban subculture” must be the new codeword for uppity ni**ers.

    I actually meant the “thug” culture, which tends to cross racial lines, but you’d know that if you’d asked.

    but I think they are not the rare phenomenon that Cassidy seems to think they are.

    If you’re going to paraphrase me, at least get it right. I never said they were a rare phenomenon. I agree that they happen often enough to warrant a review of procedure. OTOH, they are still the exception and not the rule. Exceptions are aberrations and to use those statistically smaller occurrences to dictate policy is about the most wrong-headed thing I’ve heard of.

  162. 162
    Cassidy says:

    Your first performance was so much better. This was more whiny bitch than fringe lunatic. You definitely need to work on your delivery.

    Honestly, at this point at taser the shit out of you, just because it’d be fun to watch you squeal and cry.

  163. 163

    Tsulagi, sure, I’ll give a shot or two. First – I was a librarian in a prison for three years in a state where EVERY person who was ‘on the floor’ with inmates had exactly the same training as the entry level correctional officers. I had supplemental training which isn’t relevant here, and since my duty wasn’t CO I had a different point of view. I also, during an interesting period while in the army, found myself on detached duty as part of a board reviewing complaints of improper behavior by MPs. Being a 2LT at the time, I got lots of kudos for saying “I don’t understand this phrase/concept” to senior NCOs and officers, and in the process learned quite a bit – which was generally useless given my assigned branch. All said to help you decide how much salt to apply…

    Language barriers suck, and so far as I’ve found there are pretty much ZERO real, effective solutions. Here’s a fun exercise. Come up with a series of gestures you can do with one hand (the other holding taser/gun) that clearly say, “Put your hands in the air, turn around, and lie down on the ground.” FWIW, many (can’t say most, don’t KNOW) agencies with largish foreign language communities teach their officers a handful of phrases (that sequence being one, sometimes). It helps, sorta. One of those “terrible but better than the rest” solutions. Figure out a good solution and you’ll make a lot of GOOD cops very happy. (Bad ones won’t care.)

    Second, your ‘not to sound macho’. First, based SOLELY on what I know (which is a heck of a lot less than all the details), you’re holding a taser, not a 9mm or 12ga. See the line in the preceding paragraph about ‘terrible but…’ Second, you’d be surprised. In fact, I suggest you test it with paintguns or lasertag. Here’s the test. You have your weapon pointed at the other guy. The other guy holds weapon at the ready but against the hip and pointed down. You cannot shoot until he starts drawing. A third person – preferably with a camera – watches to make the call of who fired first. Now if paintballs would go through towels like bullets do I’d add one more thing to raise the intensity – the other guy gets a towel and CHOOSES whether to have a gun or not. If you shoot him when he doesn’t, you owe a round post-game. When he DOES have a weapon, whoever shoots last buys a round. Give it ten attempts, and be prepared to buy more than he does. Now translate that to: you have a taser and he maybe has a gun.

    Also applicable – as long as he’s on his feet he can move. Toward, or away (and out of sight).

    One of the frustrations with training law enforcement officers and trying to catch and weed out the uber-authoritarians is that allgedly (and certainly the stated norm and the little training I’ve had)ou actually try to train them to be simultaneously authoritarians AND diplomats. Here’s the deal: If everything is under control, nobody gets more than their pride hurt. If somebody’s running out of control, they can get people hurt – and occasionally killed – whether they’re bad guys or not. The best way to get control is to lock everything down – full stop – and then start gradually releasing pressure. ON THE OTHER HAND, in the long run it hurts when compared to the diplomatic method. That is, gentle persuasion and a demeanor that has even the most hardened going along with it. All the training I got had a strong push that ‘the best officer is the one who never has to draw a weapon, but sometimes you have to be a hardcase.’ Unfortunately this has two obvious downsides. Effective gentle takes practice, and hard is easier. Add in the tendency of the job to attract people who want to be little tin gods and you get, well, you get the reason there are legitimate complaints.

    I despise and fear the loosing of restrictions on the power-mad within law enforcement. I complain bitterly at the reduction of training budgets that force shortcuts, given training “hard” is easier than training “gentle”, which do you imagine gets cut? I wish, wholeheartedly, that there was a more effective manner of identifying and removing the bullies without damaging the ones who aren’t but had to use bullying tactics because they were out of their depth (and can be saved). I regret that the taser is seen as such a non-harmful weapon by so many – though the past year of ‘don’t tase me bro’ actions have made a major dent in that – which has led to it being used far too easily by otherwise good officers. Not least because their policies say that’s the right thing to do. All the preceding said, I do not regret the issuance of the taser. They’ve become the weapon of choice when entering a possible hostile situation, replacing both clubs and guns. To picture how much I don’t regret that, consider that as little as a decade ago the officer would have had a pistol, not a taser — and based on history and situation there’s a good chance Mr. Williams would be in either the hospital or the morgue. There’s shit that needs fixed. Don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    Final digression. It’s been about a decade since we made it back to my wife’s family in Wichita, but I imagine some things are still true. There were neighborhoods where you avoid going if you can, and if you have to you do the same thing you do in “big” cities when going to the high-crime zones. I have no clue where Mr. Williams lived. I just want to point out that Wichita isn’t, well, it’s not a storybook town, but a real place with good and bad.

  164. 164
    John Cole says:

    The funny irony is that you all make fun of neocons and conservatives and their pants wetting fear of jihadist, yet you all seem to find jackbooted thugs in your sleep.

    That dig would hurt if you hadn’t spent the last four hours defending the absolute necessity of two heavily armed guys tasering an unarmed deaf naked man because they were scared.

  165. 165
    bob says:

    See, asshole, you ARE a republican who condones torture. You fit every insult thrown at you, you passive agressive candyass. And yet you never address anything substantive. Simply repeat your bullshit rationalizations for torture and abuse of power. Scare me, pussy.

  166. 166
    Buck says:

    Donnell Williams had just gotten out of the bath tub, wearing only a towel around his waist, when he turned the corner to see guns pointing right at him.

    What if…

    What if, in this case, Mr. Williams was armed himself? A citizen who felt, like many do, that he has the right to protect himself (and loved ones) especially in his own home.

    What if the cops were undercover, so were in civilian clothing? Or the lighting was dim?

    Does Mr. Williams get to shoot first and ask questions later? Should he first ask them to halt? Seeing as he was clearly outnumbered, should he even take the time to ask them to halt? What if there was a language barrier? What if the cops were hard of hearing and kept pointing to their hearing-aidless ears?

    I would certainly hope cooler heads prevailed.

  167. 167
    Andy K says:

    Tsulagi:

    It’s good they have a non-lethal option now…

    No, tasers have proven to be lethal.

    An as fer the “urban” settin’: It’s “The ‘hood”. Let’s all ‘fess up to this! This isn’t the high rent, New Warehouse District. Nope, this is a few blocks away, where the black folks live, and have lived fer decades. If the cops pull this shit in the New Warehouse District the victim doesn’t call 1-800-LAW-SUIT to get the ball rollin’ in court, he calls his partner in the law firm to start the paperwork.

    And until Mr. Junior Partner gets tazed nothin’s gonna change.

  168. 168
    Cassidy says:

    That dig would hurt if you hadn’t spent the last four hours defending the absolute necessity of two heavily armed guys tasering an unarmed deaf naked man because they were scared.

    Once again, please get it right. I didn’t say it was absolutely necessary. I did say the decision process was justified, considering what knowledge they had. I do believe that cops should have the leeway to make tactical, on the spot decisions. They are the subject matter experts and 99% of them are decent people and should ahve the benefit of a doubt.

    Bob, I love ya, man. You’re my favorite rambling idiot. I can so see you with your brown shirt with the MJ leaf on it, and your little felt hat, spit dribbling down your goatee as you fume and rant. FYI, I’m a Democrat.

    It would be so much fun to crank up the voltage on you.

    No, tasers have proven to be lethal.

    Bullshit argument. a spoon can be lethal under the right circumstances. While a taser can have lethal effects, the taser itself functions as a non-lethal alternative to putting bullets in people.

    I’m starting to think you all had wished Mr. Williams had died, just so you could say “gotcha”.

  169. 169
    Tsulagi says:

    First, based SOLELY on what I know (which is a heck of a lot less than all the details), you’re holding a taser, not a 9mm or 12ga.

    I know a taser was ultimately used, but I would find it kind of hard to believe that they entered that house responding to a shooting call armed only with electric toys. I would think they also came with the ones that go bang. I would also think multiple officers had weapons drawn and ready pointed at naked guy in case the towel dropped revealing 6” of anything other than dick.

    I’ll concede that naked guy could have used a little common sense on his part. You got six or so guys in police uniforms pointing nasty things at you and you know they’re yelling something even if you can’t hear what’s said, make yourself zero threat beyond any remote doubt. Both hands out and open. If modest, get down on the floor while holding your towel then put out both hands.

    But some people who have loaded weapons pointed at them at close range sometimes short circuit. Their brain paralyzes and they don’t think. Those police officers should know that, and if they don’t see him with a weapon give him more time to comply.

    Main thing this article told me is these guys are not getting adequate training or proper standards are not being enforced. As if the attitude is when in doubt what to do, or just to save time, tase the sucker. Not gonna win hearts and minds with that one.

  170. 170
    Andy K says:

    a spoon can be lethal under the right circumstances.

    Then why aren’t the police trained to throw spoons effectively from a distance of 15 feet instead of carryin’ sidearms?

    No, tasers can be very deadly. How’s a cop to know if the person their usin’ a taser on has a heart arrhythmia or is wearin’ a pacemaker? Hell, there might be any number of things goin’ wrong in yer own body without ya knowin’ it, Cassidy. Would ya volunteer subjectin’ yerself, friends and family without havin’ full medical background at hand? Wouldn’t it be safer to throw a spoon?

    I’m starting to think you all had wished Mr. Williams had died, just so you could say “gotcha”.

    Yeah, that’s right. Prayin’ fer every American sodier in Iraq to die, too. Or at least another 50,00 or so, just so all of the comparisons to Vietnam will carry more weight. Keep thinkin’ that.

  171. 171
    Andy K says:

    50,000

  172. 172
    tBone says:

    I’d taze all of you right now if it would make you stop feeding the cassidy.

  173. 173
    Cassidy says:

    Would ya volunteer subjectin’ yerself,

    Sure, why not. I’d take a shot to the chest.

  174. 174
    Cassidy says:

    Yeah, that’s right. Prayin’ fer every American sodier in Iraq to die, too. Or at least another 50,00 or so, just so all of the comparisons to Vietnam will carry more weight.

    That isn’t necessary. I read a very good book by Kenneth Campbell that made this case without needing another 50K dead Soldiers. Very interesting read.

  175. 175
    Cassidy says:

    I’d taze all of you right now if it would make you stop feeding the cassidy.

    Personally, I’m having fun. Start off with a little debate. Then the reality based folk show how out of touch they are. Then you get a few peaceniks to start hurling insults and ranting violently. And then of course the ultra-liberal logic bending comes into play, and reality is no longer based on fact, but instead, feelings and perception.

    It’s great. I can’t believe I got bored with this shit the first time.

  176. 176
    Andy K says:

    Sure, why not. I’d take a shot to the chest.

    The wife and kids? Mom and dad? The grandparents?

  177. 177
    Badtux says:

    Y’know, police officer is *not* the world’s most dangerous job. You’re more likely to die on the job if you’re a roofer or a framer than if you’re a cop. Yet cops nowdays seem to be a effin’ bundle of g*d**nd nerves, like they’re mainlining enough meth to make a crank-head seem like slow-mo. So we get $hit like this where jittery cops taser a guy before realizing that a dripping dude wearing a towel while pointing at his ear isn’t a threat, and people whining that it’s justifiable because “being a policeman is a dangerous job”.

    I swear, cops nowdays have become friggin’ nerve-wracked cowards. They are so conditioned to see threats *everywhere* that they’re unwilling to take basic risks of the job like, well, like spending time properly evaluating the situation to see whether force is necessary before applying force. I knew a lot of cops growing up, and those dudes had rocks. I mean, huevos the size of goddamned basketballs. They had to. They were armed with primitive .38 revolvers (no SWAT teams in those days either), and had no body armor. Nothing but that blue uniform and that funny cap and a pair of handcuffs and a baton. Took stones to hit the streets in those days. Modern cops? Marshmallows, dudes. And not the big ones. Miniature marshmallows. Their junk ain’t punk, that’s for sure.

    – Badtux the Rude Penguin

  178. 178
    tBone says:

    It’s great. I can’t believe I got bored with this shit the first time.

    You seem to have put the hiatus to good use, though. You’ve perfected that smug, patronizing tone that drives reasonable people fucking nuts. Should be a target-rich environment for you for a while.

  179. 179
    jcricket says:

    Incidentally, as more and more non-”urban subculture” people get electroshocked or know people who do, I would think their attitudes toward police will become indistinguishable from that of the disrespectful “urban subculture”. (I am inclined to think the attitudes of the “urban subculture” toward the police were shaped by similar abuses.)

    Yep. I made this same point on another thread. When white America wakes up to what Black/Brown America lives every day, Republicans and their attitudes are in for a rude awakening.

    Right now the torture, SWAT tactics, etc. all “seem” OK because people give the police/military the benefit of the doubt: “Gee, I dunno. Seems harsh, but I know those police/military guys know what they are doing. Plus they say he’s a bad guy.” But when that trust is eroded and the natural response is instead “There the jack-booted thugs go again”, I don’t think law enforcement is going to get the same kind of cooperation from the public anymore.

    Sure, the “anyone could have a gun” pussies like Cassidy (who can’t get over that the dirty fucking hippies were right about everything) will still cooperate with the police. But who cares.

  180. 180
    Cassidy says:

    “anyone could have a gun”

    Well, if you listen to Pelosi or the Brady idiots, anyone could have a gun. I have a few.

    who can’t get over that the dirty fucking hippies were right about everything

    Yeah…sure, gotcha.

    Black/Brown America lives every day,

    You mean perpetuating bad role models, blaming poor behavior on racism, making excuses for people because there black/brown and ostracizing prominent blacks who have the nerve to say it isn’t the “man” holding them down?

  181. 181
    Cassidy says:

    Should be a target-rich environment for you for a while.

    Me, Bob, and a taser set on high, along with a couple 6’s of Blue Moon…makes for a fun evening.

  182. 182
    Mhojo says:

    I still don’t think I’ve heard anyone say what the cops should have done that would have been safe and effective whether the guy was concealing a weapon and had bad intent or was just an innocent guy in a towel. Maybe I wasn’t reading closely enough.

    I’ve heard “there’s gotta be a way” and “they shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”

    “Shouldn’t have been there in the first place” is fine as long as we’re willing to accept a standard where cops require significantly more information and verification before agreeing to respond to a complaint.

  183. 183
    binzinerator says:

    I actually meant the “thug” culture, which tends to cross racial lines, but you’d know that if you’d asked.

    Another codeword.

    If you’re going to paraphrase me, at least get it right. I never said they were a rare phenomenon.

    Oh, I wasn’t paraphrasing you. To say “I think they are not the rare phenomenon that Cassidy seems to think they are” is not a paraphrase. You may correctly say that I drew the wrong conclusion from what you said, but it is incorrect to say I am paraphrasing your words.

    But I see we both agree that these incidents are not rare.

    Which makes this harder to understand:

    Exceptions are aberrations and to use those statistically smaller occurrences to dictate policy is about the most wrong-headed thing I’ve heard of.

    First, those “abberations” — they’re properly called mistakes, ones that harm and can kill innocent people. And if such mistakes are not rare, such as using using force on a deaf guy in a bath towel, that’s a huge reason to make changes.

    But it looks like we disagree here. You say these mistakes justify a review of procedures. I insist more than a review is warranted — changes are needed. And there can be no changes in how people do things if one does not change the policy that guides them. And I think because the actions that have resulted in these mistakes — the excessive use of force on potential threats — are guided by a policy.

    Perhaps what you mean as ‘procedures’ I mean ‘policy’. I mean policy as a plan of action that guides decisions (and here I am paraphrasing — the wikipedia).

    A policy does not need to be written down in some Police Handbook. The police who looked the other way while civil rights protesters were beaten and who were covered by their superiors — that’s a policy, not a procedure. When those actions are not condemned, but in fact endorsed by the people who are in charge, that’s policy talking, not procedure.

    Whether policy vs. procedure, one thing is certain — the guys who supervise these bozos are not interested in changing anything. Quite the opposite. They are defending these actions.

    So if these abuses are not rare, then at what degree of frequency will you accept these abuses are something more than “aberrations”? When 51% of all police responses involve an excessive use of force?

  184. 184

    Armed And Dangerous?

    by matttbastard
    Ah, wonderful–yet another shocking incident involving the indiscriminate discharge of an electronic control device™SM®OMFGWTFBBQ!!!1:
    Donnell Williams had just gotten out of the bath tub, wearing only a towel around his waist, …

  185. 185
    Cassidy says:

    Another codeword.

    For what…gangsta. Stop being a prick. This particular subculture crosses racial lines. Maybe you are to caught up[ in white America to see that.

    As I said, rare and exception don’t mean the same thing. If there are 100 successful police actions to every one bad one, then that’s a pretty good ratio. I don’t know the numbers particularly. I have asked for you all, collectively, to back up your claim that these kind incidents aren’t exceptions, but the norm. I have yet to see those, so I can only assume they don’t exist.

    Either way, it’s called reality. Perfection in this kind of circumstance is impossible. It’s ridiculous to even expect it.

  186. 186
    binzinerator says:

    jcricket said:

    Yep. I made this same point on another thread. When white America wakes up to what Black/Brown America lives every day, Republicans and their attitudes are in for a rude awakening.

    When that happens, white america will know what the Geto Boys knew:

    police brutality
    it’s a reality
    they’re kicking our ass
    and we pay their salary

  187. 187
    binzinerator says:

    Stop being a prick

    The prick here is the one who used codewords for black/brown america and pretends they’re not.

    “Urban subculture” was so blatant, I wasn’t the only one here who got it. It’s because we understand white America that we see it for what it is.

  188. 188
    Cassidy says:

    Right….keep drinking the kool-aid….

  189. 189
    binzinerator says:

    back up your claim that these kind incidents aren’t exceptions, but the norm.

    You are dishonestly putting words in my mouth, claiming I said something I never said. I never said in any of my comments these incidents were the norm. My exact words:

    The abuses are not the rule, of course…

    In no comment I wrote did I make the claim that these abuses were the norm.

    As I asked you earlier, at what degree of frequency will you accept these abuses are something more than “aberrations”? When 51% of all police responses involve an excessive use of force?

    Those questions would be pointless if I had said these incidents were already the norm.

    Arguing with a prick is difficult enough, but arguing with a dishonest one is utterly pointless.

  190. 190
    Cassidy says:

    I have asked for you all, collectively,

    Read…don’t skim…you won’t look like a fool.

  191. 191
    LiberalTarian says:

    John Cole Says:

    The funny irony is that you all make fun of neocons and conservatives and their pants wetting fear of jihadist, yet you all seem to find jackbooted thugs in your sleep.

    That dig would hurt if you hadn’t spent the last four hours defending the absolute necessity of two heavily armed guys tasering an unarmed deaf naked man because they were scared.

    I love you man. *grin*

    And, I agree with what’s his name who wants to tase people who keep feeing the troll(s). Heh.

  192. 192
    Buck says:

    Arguing with a prick is difficult enough, but arguing with a dishonest one is utterly pointless.

    Amen!

    Fortunately, the thread troll held the lone, ass-backwards position of defending this indefensible action. Changes are needed… the majority will see to it.

  193. 193
    Cassidy says:

    Arguing with a prick is difficult enough, but arguing with a dishonest one is utterly pointless.

    Hey if I can deal with about 5 of them, you’ll be awright with your non-existent one.

    Buck, I’m sorry but you are really way off. The cops made the right decision based on the information they had. You may not like the decision, but oh well, that’s the nature of the beast.

  194. 194
    Buck says:

    Cassidy, who really knows for sure? Be nice if there was video!

    I understand, and agree, when an officer says “get down!“, or “hands up!“, you do it! You do not stand there and question him. Yes, you may feel humiliated by it, but it might just save your life too! If you feel the officer behaved improperly you can always take it up with him and/or his supervisors later.

    But this case was just a tad bit special. Several officers, surely armed… a man clad only in a wet towel, pointing at his ear… I’m sorry. I really think the officers could have showed a bit of restraint here.

    Maybe you’re gleaning something from the article the rest of us aren’t.

  195. 195
    Cassidy says:

    They did use restraint. They used a non-lethal tool at their disposal, as opposed to putting bullets in him.

  196. 196
    Badtux says:

    As vs. waiting until they could understand what he was saying, then gesture what they wanted him to do. But that would have required stones.

    Being a cop is a dangerous job. So is being a roofer. But just because it’s dangerous doesn’t give you an excuse to, like, not do the basic job of a cop, which to quote that friggin’ slogan is to “serve and protect”. A roofer can’t refuse to climb up on a roof just ’cause it’s dangerous. There’s a job to do, and he’s getting paid to do it, even though it’s dangerous. Same deal with a cop, and cops when I was a kid knew that, and had stones the size of friggin’ basketballs. Nowdays… not so much. It’s all about “force protection” nowdays, rather than “citizen protection”, and “taser first, ask questions later.” Marshmallows, dude. Miniature marshmallows. That junk ain’t punk for sure.

  197. 197
    Fledermaus says:

    But just because it’s dangerous doesn’t give you an excuse to, like, not do the basic job of a cop, which to quote that friggin’ slogan is to “serve and protect”.

    Yeah. My objection to this whole thing is, even granting the gun shot, this guy was not a threat. Not to at least two cops one with a tazer and one with an aimed gun. Cops have begun to view civilians as completely irrational. So the police by yelling commands and demanding instant compliance, under threat of pain.

    I guess shorter me: Any police force that sees a civilian coming out of the shower with a towel and thinks, possible lethal threat. Well, that mindset is going to lead to a lot of problems.

  198. 198
    TenguPhule says:

    They did use restraint. They used a non-lethal tool at their disposal, as opposed to putting bullets in him.

    The stupid from Cassidy never stops.

    Somehow the idea of ‘act rationally’ translates for Cassidy to ‘taser first, because it beats shooting them’.

    May you be on the receiving end of the policy you endorse.

  199. 199
    TenguPhule says:

    If there are 100 successful police actions to every one bad one, then that’s a pretty good ratio.

    Better 100 guilty go free then one innocent be unjustly imprisoned….sound familiar?

  200. 200
    TenguPhule says:

    Then the reality based folk show how out of touch they are Cassidy is.

    Corrected.

    Our police and our military are not supposed to be interchangable, no matter how much Cassidy would like to pretend so.

    Crying ‘they have to protect themselves’ is a fucking joke.
    The best protection cops have always had on the job is the Public’s Trust in them. When people like Cassidy encourage stupid behavior that destroys that trust, it makes every police officer’s life a little more dangerous.

  201. 201
    Cassidy says:

    Teng, as with everyone else around here, it would be nice if you got it right. I’ve never encouraged a shoot first, ask questions later approach to police work. I’m all about non-violent methods of diffusing. But, I also support the officers decisions made on the ground. In hindisght, the wrong decision was made, but not due to any prior knowledge the cops had or could’ve had. They made the right decision for the situation as it was. You don’t have to like it, but it would be nice if you all, collectively, would stop bending logic to fit your narrow perceptions. I’m sure it feels better to think of all cops as jackbooted thugs, but that isn’t the truth.

    When these kind of incidents happen as often as good police work, then we can examine what the problem is. But whining about these aberrations does nothing but make you all look like hysterical idiots. For a group that calls themselves the “reality based community”, you sure seem to ignore it a lot.

  202. 202
    Cyrus says:

    You mean perpetuating bad role models, blaming poor behavior on racism, making excuses for people because there black/brown and ostracizing prominent blacks who have the nerve to say it isn’t the “man” holding them down?

    For what…gangsta. Stop being a prick. This particular subculture crosses racial lines.

    Yeah, liberals are such pricks. There’s obviously nothing racist about complaining about “thug” culture, because it crosses racial lines — it includes black and brown people.

    When these kind of incidents happen as often as good police work, then we can examine what the problem is.

    That’s right, because gratuitous and unnecessary abuse, violence and injuries just aren’t worth worrying about unless they make up half or more of all interactions between police and private citizens. What, do you want to hold the cops’ hands as they do their jobs? Geez.

    I’m not totally sure that Cassidy and Psycheout are either trolls or spoofs, but I save myself a lot of aggravation by assuming they are most of the time. Seriously, everyone, unless you enjoy getting angry at strangers on the Internet, there’s really no point.

    Kirk Spencer says:
    One of the frustrations with training law enforcement officers and trying to catch and weed out the uber-authoritarians is that allgedly (and certainly the stated norm and the little training I’ve had)ou actually try to train them to be simultaneously authoritarians AND diplomats.

    This is true, and I think it’s the basic problem. Train two separate types of fricking cops! (More than just two, of course, but the point is…) SWAT teams and everyone else. SWAT teams, or whatever you want to call them, are only for when there’s really no question that there’s something serious. Not just allegedly hearing gunfire but when someone actually saw someone get shot, etc. “Everyone else” should probably be armed because hey, sometimes things go bad quickly. But everyone else is trained mostly for unarmed combat and community relations, because their job is traffic stops, 911 hangups, drunk assholes, arguments that become escalate into fights, shoplifters, and when someone thinks they probably heard something that sounded sort of like a scream or gunshot but they don’t know anything for sure. After all, that’s what makes up 90 percent of police work.

    If this happens, these tasing incidents and other violence and abuse that’s unnecessary “in hindsight” would immediately be reduced to a quarter of what they are now. In the short term, injuries and deaths among “everyone else” would rise slightly, but as others have said, being a police officer is always going to be at least a little dangerous, and that’s part of the deal.

    But oh, wait. It costs more money and administration to train officers on such different tracks and keep them completely separate. And once you have a SWAT team, they have to use their expensive toys every so often to justify the expense. And when an officer does get hurt on the job, it’s a clear sign that they’re too restricted by regulations. And bla urban thug gangsta culture is so constantly and incredibly and unpredictably violent. So never mind then, we should be grateful every time police use tasers because they could have used guns instead.

  203. 203
    markus says:

    right decision? Well, sorry no. They need to realise they’re massively threatening: they entered his house without warrant or warning, they’re carrying weapons, pointing them at him. They outnumber him. He’d be _completely_ justified going berserk on them in a futile attempt to protect whatever.
    He doesn’t do that, he just stands there, wet, in a towel and does not comply with their demands. That’s not a threat, not even a potential threat because compared to the moment when they kicked down the door, the danger they’re in has gone _down_ considerably. At that moment, they knew the man was not pointing a weapon at them, was not firing one at present, had a good chance of not even having a weapon and the chance that the call was without substance has just gone up a lot (as opposed to say finding people hiding furniture on the side of the door/entry point).
    The right thing to do here is put the gun away and talk him down, because you’re just invaded his home and he has a right to be upset. That is not the same as the most save option, but the job (just as for fireman and roofers) frequently requires them to take certain risks. Sometimes, they have to take these risks because they’re in the business of upholding stuff like the Constitution and civil society in general and getting tasered in your own home because you’re hearing impaired and the police had bad info is pretty much anathema to those.
    Especially since their risk in this is just so damn small.

  204. 204
    Cassidy says:

    it includes black and brown people.

    And white and asian…it’s not about race, it’s about living in certain environments.

    You’re suggestion, while a good one, before your smarmy and inaccurate last paragraph, doesn’t take into consideration some of things that have turned “beat cops” into more tactical cops. It used to be, you would answer a domestic call, or an escalated fight, and thinks could be somewhat peaceably solved, with one or two individuals being restrained. Nowadays, Joe Asshole gets done beating on his wife and may answer the door with a gun in hand.

    Are you aware that more “beat cops” are being trained by SWAT teams to enter into schools and begin clearing rooms, hallways, etc? Why is that? Maybe it’s because they are the first responders, and have an obligation to do something for the citizens they are sworn to protect, rather than just stand around and wait for someone to decide it’s “really serious” and call out the SWAT.

    I also find it very disgusting that you are okay with more cops dying, but not willing to allow them to take the necessary measures to prevent it. I guess cops aren’t real people with families and whatnot.

  205. 205
    Badtux says:

    Cassidy, I grew up in a city where every household had at least two handguns (one of them generally a war-surplus .45 automatic for fun, the other generally a .38 revolver for self defense), a deer rifle, a squirrel rifle, a 20 gauge shotgun, and a 12 gauge shotgun. Generally there was a couple of other guns hanging around too, maybe a war surplus M1 Garand or something. Yes, the deep South. A dangerous place. Highest murder rate in the country on a per-capita basis then, and now, because of all the drunken heavily-armed rednecks getting into fights and guns getting pulled out and used. Indeed, we had more guns per-capita then in that city than we do now. But y’know, cops when I was growing up didn’t do this shit. They had stones, not marshmallows. They knew the job was dangerous, and they did it. They didn’t have tasers. They didn’t have tactical armor (didn’t exist yet). They didn’t have 9mm or .40 auto-pistols with 17 rounds in the magazine, they had a 6-shot .38 revolver and if things got really hairy, a 5-round tactical pump 12 gauge loaded with slugs. They didn’t even HAVE freakin’ SWAT teams back then, there wasn’t any such thing. But they had stones. And it was enough. I sure as hell felt safer then than I feel now.

    “Force protection” is a euphemism for “protect cops, not citizens”. But that’s not the job of a cop. The job of a cop is to protect citizens. An emphasis upon force protection means that cops move from a mindset of protecting citizens, to a mindset of protecting cops. It’s as if you have a roofer refusing to go up on a roof to pound roofing nails (that’s a more dangerous job than being a cop, BTW — more roofers die on the job than cops) because it’s too dangerous. You don’t take unnecessary risks, but goddamn it the job is dangerous and if you can’t deal with that without tasering random people due to nerves you’re in the wrong business. It’s all part of the pussification of America, where we’re all so goddamned scared of being hurt in some way that we act in stupid ways, and hiding that existential terror in false machismo and “shoot first ask questions later” use of potential-deadly weapons (and yes tasers decidedly can kill people who have health conditions) doesn’t make it any more cowardice. Instead of stones, we got cops with marshmallows nowdays blustering and tasering to cover up for it and seeing their job as protecting themselves, not protecting citizens. Marshmallows. Miniature marshmallows. Sigh. Junk that’ll fit in a teaspoon.

  206. 206
    Cassidy says:

    The world changes tux. We used to line up and fire in volleys. Fortunately, we don’t do that anymore.

  207. 207
    jh says:

    Cassidy, I

    I’ll say this simply, because you are simpleton.

    These cops were out of line, this incident is emblematic of what happens when cowards, wearing the uniform of a police officer, are empowered to treat citizens as an indistinguishable hostile mass. ESPECIALLY citizens of color.

    I am an honest, law-abiding, African-American citizen yet my interactions with law enforcement have always been tenuous at best. This also goes for my parents, grandparents, extended family, friends and aquaintances who happed to share the same heritage.

    One of my childhood friends, was shot by the police because he “resembled” and armed robbery suspect and apparently a day glo orange Sears skateboard looks a lot like a sawed off shotgun to police…even in broad daylight. Did I mention he was mentally disabled (Down’s Syndrome) and didn’t understand the officer’s directions to drop his shotgun/skateboard? Two bullets hit him. One severed his spine. He would be 37 today had he lived.

    Shit like this happens with alarming frequency where I come from, and the police trot out the same tired excuses.

    Officers were “afraid”, suspect may have been armed, dangerous job, blah, blah….

    It’s been going on forever, and it will continue to occur until the way police are recruited, trained and DISCIPLINED when the fuck up, is drastically restructured.

    Right now, you have a bunch of pussies in uniform who have convinced themselves that policework is a “kill or be killed” job and that every citizen is a potential threat…with grotesquely predictable results.

    This must stop.

  208. 208
    Badtux says:

    I will repeat: *IT IS MORE DANGEROUS TO BE A ROOFER THAN TO BE A COP!* Go look at the DOL labor force statistics at the percentage of roofers killed per year vs. the percentage of cops killed per year. There’s just no comparison. Roofers, steel workers (the guys building skyscrapers, not the dudes in the factories), etc., die at a far greater rate than cops do.

    Yes, police work is dangerous. But it is *not* the most dangerous job in the world, and going out in terror every day and putting force protection ahead of citizen protection is not the way to handle it.

    And Cassidy, the world hasn’t changed. My city was flooded with guns and hostile trigger-happy rednecks then, and is flooded with guns and hostile trigger-happy rednecks now. The world hasn’t changed. The people doing the job have changed. Stones, dude. Stones. Before you had all these fancy toys like body armor and tasers, only dudes with real ones became cops. Nowdays… not so much, apparently, given that they get so scared by a deaf person wearing a bath towel pointing at his ear and going OOH WWAH OOOH WAH WAH (“I CAN’T HEAR” as said by a deaf person without his hearing aid) that they have to taser him.

  209. 209
    chopper says:

    man, i don’t understand this at all.

    apparently, it’s okay to tase a dude who “isn’t complying with police directions,” even if there’s a perfectly reasonable reason why, like i dunno, he’s repeatedly yelling out “i’m deaf” or he’s in a diabetic coma.

    sorry, but if being deaf or in a coma automatically makes you “a potential threat” because by definition you can’t understand police directions, stop the world right now and let me off this fucking place.

  210. 210
    Cassidy says:

    I’ll say this simply, because you are simpleton.

    As I continually say, it is impossible for you all to have a reasoned debate without insulting someone. I realize that it may boost your ego a bit to swagger of the internet, but it really does no good.

    These cops were out of line, this incident is emblematic of what happens when cowards, wearing the uniform of a police officer, are empowered to treat citizens as an indistinguishable hostile mass. ESPECIALLY citizens of color.

    I disagree. I’ve stated my position several times.

    I am an honest, law-abiding, African-American citizen yet my interactions with law enforcement have always been tenuous at best. This also goes for my parents, grandparents, extended family, friends and aquaintances who happed to share the same heritage.

    This I get and I don’t disagree with. You’ll notice, if you go up and read, that I have no problem with reviewing the tactics, policies, procedures, SOP’s, etc. to find things that are wrong and try and fix them. I even agreed that this particular incident called for a review in procedure, as obviously something wrong happened. And while I think a certain level of mistakes is acceptable, as they are impossible to negate, every mistake should lead to a review of SOP.

    In the end, you can blame the police if you choose. I think the relationship goes in the other direction. When urban neighborhoods stop letting the layabouts and criminals control and influence their children, then it is quite possible for change to take place, but until our society takes ownership of what we’ve done wrong, instead of trying to blame everyone else, then you can expect the same results all the time.

  211. 211
    jh says:

    direction. When urban neighborhoods stop letting the layabouts and criminals control and influence their children, then it is quite possible for change to take place

    And this is why I call you a simpleton.

    The behavior of a criminal element in our midst does not absolve the police of their responsibility to uphold the law while protecting the safety law abiding citizens.

    One has nothing to do with the other.

    Living in the wrong zip code should not mean the police get to treat you as a disposable subhuman.

  212. 212
    Cassidy says:

    The police didn’t break the law. And you’re making a lot of assumptions about the mindset of the men in that room. You have no argument.

  213. 213
    Cyrus says:

    When urban neighborhoods stop letting the layabouts and criminals control and influence their children, then it is quite possible for change to take place, but until our society takes ownership of what we’ve done wrong, instead of trying to blame everyone else, then you can expect the same results all the time.

    “Layabouts”? LOL, maybe I’ve been wrong. Maybe you’re neither a troll nor a spoof; maybe you’re just 85. That would also explain your inability to link to supporting evidence for any of your assertions, if you simply don’t know how to use HTML. (“It used to be, you would answer a domestic call, or an escalated fight, and thinks could be somewhat peaceably solved, with one or two individuals being restrained. Nowadays, Joe Asshole gets done beating on his wife and may answer the door with a gun in hand.” — do you have any evidence that this is worse per capita than it was 10 years ago, or worse than it was 60 years ago?)

  214. 214
    jh says:

    The police didn’t break the law.

    As any cursory review of American history will show you, “not breaking the law” is not the sole determinant of whether or not law enforcement policy/behavior ethcial, smart or appropriate.

    The policies and laws need to be changed.

  215. 215
    Cassidy says:

    The policies and laws need to be changed.

    That’s fine. If you feel strongly about it ,vote for it. That’s a perfectly legitimate course of action. As things stand, though, no laws were broken and treating these cops like they are criminals is wrong.

  216. 216
    Badtux says:

    Criminals, no. Ball-less wonders right out of the Don Knotts flick The Shakiest Gun In The West, yes.

  217. 217
    Iamspartacus says:

    If Mr. Williams is black (I’m just guessing here), the cops probably assumed he was “throwing gang signs.” As we know, gang-bangers are fair game, even in the bathroom.

  218. 218
    D. Mason says:

    The police didn’t break the law

    I’m pretty sure they did. They’re simply not being prosecuted because one of their buddies would have to make the arrest. I would like to see a few $100 million dollar lawsuits shake out and cripple some police budgets over shit like this. Let the whole force pay for protecting the thugs and criminals among them.

  219. 219
    Cassidy says:

    I’m pretty sure they did.

    Cite it.

  220. 220
    D. Mason says:

    They are the subject matter experts and 99% of them are decent people and should ahve the benefit of a doubt.

    The militarization of our police is in response to the society we live in. Individuals are more deadly than they used to be and the environments are getting worse. We have a whole urban subculture that is raised to not respect the police for any reason, or value them as human beings.

    The average person has a much better means at their disposal of killing cops.

    There are more cases of suspects getting violent with cops, than there are of cops tasing innocent people.

    .
    .
    .

    Cite it.

    You first.

  221. 221
    Tsulagi says:

    I’m lining up with the penguin here. The day I’m armed facing off against a naked guy in a towel and I’m fearing for my life, just shoot me instead.

    …a deaf person wearing a bath towel pointing at his ear and going OOH WWAH OOOH WAH WAH (“I CAN’T HEAR” as said by a deaf person without his hearing aid)

    LOL. I hope you’re not trying to feed a family based on your impersonation abilities because you really suck at it.

  222. 222
    Cassidy says:

    You first.

    I’ll take that as an “I can’t”. Figured as much.

  223. 223
    Fledermaus says:

    I’m pretty sure they did.

    Cite it.

    Here ya go:

    Assault in the second degree.

    (1) A person is guilty of assault in the second degree if he or she, under circumstances not amounting to assault in the first degree:

    (a) Intentionally assaults another and thereby recklessly inflicts substantial bodily harm; or

    (b) Intentionally and unlawfully causes substantial bodily harm to an unborn quick child by intentionally and unlawfully inflicting any injury upon the mother of such child; or

    (c) Assaults another with a deadly weapon

    That is what a person who did what the cop did would be charged with. Now our hypothetical defendant/cop might try to claim self-defense, but no jury would buy it.

  224. 224
    Cassidy says:

    You are so full of shit. The cop(s) broke no laws and you know it. Nice qualifier, though. That would be a great tactic in a HS debate club.

  225. 225
    D. Mason says:

    You first.


    I’ll take that as an
    “I can’t”. Figured as much.

    Fixed

  226. 226
    rickygee says:

    Hmmm– I think I side with old Cassidy. The whole scenario is just too nebulous. The police, when confronted with a confusing situation should not attempt to exercise independent thinking, logic, or even benefit of doubt. They should always shoot first and ask questions later. It’s like our soldiers dying over in Iraq. I mean, it’s not like they voluntarily accepted the risks of their profession. Oops, that’s right, they did. Sucks to be held to a higher standard. Don’t like it – Go work at McDonald’s I guess.
    “You want burgers with that fry?”

    Cassidy = shit.

  227. 227
    Fledermaus says:

    The cop(s) broke no laws and you know it.

    Cite please. Showing that on duty cops may commit felony assault.

  228. 228
    Kenji says:

    Cassidy: “Fortunately, the potential threat was controlled with the minimum amount of force and he is still alive.”

    You think electrocuting a naked man in his home is “the minimum amount of force”?

    This is like the Kerry-speech situation: six large security types physically restraining a guy or moving him is not enough. You have to torture him too. Presumably, they go a little lighter on old ladies who only ask an impertinent question.

  229. 229
    SiliconDoc says:

    Naked deaf citizens in a towel poiting totheir ear and saying they are deaf are now a threat to multiple armed police officers. HAHAHAHAHAAHA
    Look, they caught “the ethnic skumbag” in a compromising situation and decided to have some “fun” because they are “chicken hearted” from the false tip about a gun or gunshots.
    Chickenhearted individuals who can’t see a gun in a deaf near naked persons hand are trained to never believe their lying eyes.
    They used to use tasers on mental patients, they called it “shock therapy”.
    The cops will convince the things are safe when they hook them up to their own temples and fire away, multiple times, with their fattest donut eating blue tardbaby.
    Don’t expect that day to come anytime soon.
    I have no respect for criminals and think Joe Horn is a HERO. However, a blind tip, a break-in, and a naked deaf “joe” telling them he is deaf, leaves too much room for doubt in the officers common sense, which apparently was left at desk duty, a long, long time ago.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Armed And Dangerous?

    by matttbastard
    Ah, wonderful–yet another shocking incident involving the indiscriminate discharge of an electronic control device™SM®OMFGWTFBBQ!!!1:
    Donnell Williams had just gotten out of the bath tub, wearing only a towel around his waist, …

  2. […] Radley Balko links to the single most amazing taser story I’ve read. John Cole’s got a doozy: toweled deaf man taking a bath is Tasered for not obeying officers’ commands, after they mistakenly entered his home. […]

  3. […] First off, check out this Taser story here.   Then … […]

  4. […] John Cole’s got a doozy: toweled deaf man taking a bath is Tasered for not obeying officers’ commands, after they mistakenly entered his home. […]

  5. […] Thanks again to Balloon Juice and also Radley Balko for two more examples (here and here) of brutal imbecility committed by our boys in blue. The first case involves cops tasering a naked guy wrapped in a bath towel in his own home, a guy who was telling the cops that because he had just gotten out of the bath and he couldn’t hear as he needed his hearing aid.  (The cops broke into his house because of a false call.) […]

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